Computer programming for young children

Hello - I have a kindergarten-aged child. As I think about their lifelong education, I’d like to consider computer programming/coding as almost like a second language that I feel like they should know for life. 

For those with older kids who feel like they have achieved this (or are on their way to), how did you get there? Does school provide enough of this along the way these days? We are in the OUSD system, if that helps. Or did you supplement with outside providers/tools, and if so how often/how consistent/what age is appropriate to start? 

Also open to specific provider recommendations. At this point I’m a little more interested in getting an idea of the map for learning, but any further details helps.

Thank you!

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

We are in the OUSD (Orinda, not Oakland). There's limited coding in elementary: no curriculum that advances levels with grades. There's a STEAM lab in each elementary school. 

We've supplemented coding / programming languages. In K, started with a board game called Robot Turtles. Teaches logic and beginning coding language. 

In 1st or 2nd our child got a Wonder Workshop Dash and Dot, which is an early robotics / programming toy that you can use with an iPad.

Our child also did ID Tech camp at UC Berkeley, for Minecraft game design after 2nd grade. After 3rd grade they did Lego robotics with ID Tech camp.

In 3rd / 4th he started doing Scratch at home, with my spouse helping him. Now, in 5th grade, he goes weekly to Hackingtons in Pleasant Hill. We're going to start our younger child (currently in 1st grade) with Hackingtons as soon as he's old enough, which I believe is age 8 (so next year). While we are all in SIP, Hackingtons has moved to online learning and it's going well. We like this program because each student works at their own pace with their own desired projects, there's a good instructor to student ratio, they learn multiple languages and earn different colored belts (similar to martial arts) when they pass different levels of the various languages. 

Osmo is an ipad (or kindle fire) based game that has plenty of age-appropriate learning games including coding games.

Most schools in the US do not yet have a full K-12 pathway for CS. In terms of what that'd look like if it existed,'s curriculum might provide a good hint: trains teachers in teaching CS Fundamentals at the elementary school level, CS Discoveries at the middle school level, and CS Principles at the high school level. There are also just a huge number of ways to learn coding online, of course. You can see a sampling in the Hour of Code lessons here: Generally, SCRATCH is super popular at middle school level, and SCRATCHjr or Tynker at elementary. also has this fact sheet about Computer Science in CA, which you might find interesting to see what the stats are like for schools offering CS:

I personally work for Khan Academy, where I create the computing courses. None of them are appropriate for kindergarten-age, however. I now have a 9-month-old baby, so I'll probably learn more about teaching computing to younger kids soon! :)