How Coding Can Improve Cognitive Development in Children



Countless articles on the advantages of teaching kids to code emphasize how it enhances problem-solving abilities, encourages creativity, and imparts computational thinking. Besides preparing students for their future academic and professional pursuits, coding offers powerful and thrilling cognitive benefits.

Embrace Coding to Tackle Challenges

Learning to code not only bolsters problem-solving skills but also helps children manage distress. Programming education teaches them to tackle problems with persistence and ingenuity. Research indicates that children and teenagers with social problem-solving deficits are more susceptible to depression. Consequently, problem-solving training is a common component of youth depression treatment.

By teaching kids how to break complex problems into smaller, more manageable parts, coding imparts a valuable life skill known as decomposition. This skill benefits students in any professional field, as they learn from their mistakes, test their work, and correct errors, ultimately fostering resilience.

Boost Cognitive Abilities

Although coding is often compared to learning a new language, it is more than just translating symbols and information. MIT neuroscientists have discovered that coding triggers the multiple demand network in the brain. This network, spread across the entire brain, is responsible for holding multiple pieces of information simultaneously and performing a wide range of challenging mental tasks.

Reading computer code activates both the left and right hemispheres, enhancing multitasking capabilities, working memory retention, and complex problem-solving abilities.

Refine Social Skills

Contrary to the stereotype of the solitary programmer, professionals in the field work as part of a team that communicates and collaborates to achieve objectives. Employers prioritize communication and teamwork skills when hiring programmers.

Children who code together acquire and practice the essential social-emotional learning skills needed for success in school, work, and life. Collaborative coding projects foster the development of advanced interpersonal skills, such as negotiation and relationship building.

Hone Executive Functions

Executive functions are skills that help children focus, plan, prioritize, work toward goals, self-regulate behaviors and emotions, and adapt to novel and unforeseen circumstances. These skills mature from early childhood until adulthood, and proficiency is achieved through experience and practice.

Research published in Frontiers for Physiology reveals that even limited coding practice significantly improves executive functioning in young children. Coding not only strengthens computational problem-solving abilities but also enhances supporting executive functions like planning and response inhibition. Response inhibition skills enable children to practice self-control and concentrate on complex tasks.

Suggested reading: Coding Classes for Teens

Fostering Success Through Coding

Similar to how mastering a new language stimulates brain growth and bolsters learning and memory capabilities, acquiring coding skills enhances a distinct set of abilities that support emotional well-being, learning aptitude, social competence, and executive functioning.

Given the myriad of compelling reasons to teach children coding, it’s unsurprising that 79% of parents desire their kids to learn this invaluable skill at a young age. However, finding an all-encompassing coding curriculum may not always begin within a traditional school setting. Only around half of all American high schools provide computer programming classes.

Thankfully, numerous resources exist for learning how to code beyond the standard educational environment. One such notable option is CodeMonkey, offering virtual coding classes that encompass all essential brain-boosting skills. Their courses cater to elementary school students as young as eight years old. Moreover, CodeMonkey provides an option to “Give a Coding Gift” for those looking to inspire young learners. With a small group teaching approach led by live instructors, these classes deliver a comprehensive curriculum and facilitate peer interaction, which is crucial for nurturing social, learning, executive functioning, and problem-solving skills that set students up for lifelong achievement.


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