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  • Writer's pictureSarah Jensen

From API to ABCs: Scratch Jr Helps Early Learners Write Codes Before Words

In our increasingly digital world, the ability to understand and create technology is a vital skill for the future. As such, teaching coding from an early age has become essential. Scratch Jr, a visual programming language designed for young children, stands out as the best introduction to coding for students in grades K-2, and that’s why MakeInspires runs dozens of ScratchJR classes in our makerspaces and in schools. Its simplicity, engaging interface, and educational benefits make it the ideal platform for nurturing young minds and preparing them for the digital age.

Kids as young as five string together block-based code to create animations and creative interactive content. Elise Carpenter teaches ScratchJR classes at our Mamaroneck Makerspace:

“In ScratchJR, students have the ability to jump right into game design and develop a love for coding without having the hurdle of learning a complex coding language first. Once they have developed this interest and understanding in the larger concepts of computer science, it’s much easier to deep-dive into other languages.”

ScratchJR introduces fundamental programming concepts like sequencing, loops, conditionals, and events. Users should feel comfortable with these ideas before moving on, which is why we structure our courses with a 10 week cumulative curriculum. After completing the Scratch JR ten week course, the world of coding becomes much more accessible for kids.

Scratch, the desktop version, is a great intermediary step between block-based and text-based coding. It uses a similar visual programming interface to ScratchJr but allows users to toggle between block-based and text-based coding. Users can start with blocks and gradually transition to using text-based code as they become more comfortable. Many of our students also progress to learning Python or JavaScript. Choosing one of these languages often depends on personal preferences, interests, and project goals. Python is known for its simplicity and readability, making it an excellent choice for beginners. JavaScript is widely used for web development and offers a path into front-end and back-end web development. Either is a great follow-up class to ScratchJr.

ScratchJr takes the top slot among introductory coding apps for young minds. Its intuitive interface, engaging visual programming blocks, and limitless creative possibilities have ignited a passion for coding in countless young learners around the world. What's truly remarkable is that this premiere educational tool began its journey with a humble Kickstarter campaign. Just like the young coders it empowers, ScratchJr started small but dreamt big. ScratchJr's story reminds us all that the smallest of beginnings can lead to the grandest of innovations.

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