By Daniel Urenda |Staff Writer|
Kids That Code is hosting a series of programs every Saturday this month as part of a four-week course designed to teach children how to write code and build circuits.
One of the ways the company does this is by using the popular game Minecraft, which allows children as young as 9 years old to learn the basics of programming and game design.
UH-38 was abuzz with the sounds of children’s laughter as the screen in front of the room was illuminated with fireworks they had created on their computers.
In the 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. session that took place May 6, Norco College student Aidan Lawrence stood at the front of the classroom guiding children as they performed a series of tasks from their computers.
Parents were free to stay and watch as their children played and learned.
“The kids are huge fans of Minecraft, but there’s actually a lot of engineering that you can learn using Minecraft,” said Jose Navarrete, one of the company’s directors.
“They use things like red stone as their electricity, they put different blocks together to create different circuits, and kids love it,” Navarrete continued.
To keep things organized and provide children with an effective learning space, there is a limit to how many children can sign up for the program.
More advanced students get to use Scratch to learn more about computer programming.
Scratch is a programming language developed at MIT, and provides children with an easy way to create basic programs and games.
Students are also taught how to build fully functional circuits using Arduino kits.
“They use these electronic kits to assemble wiring and then they use real programming languages to make it do simple stuff like flicker a light or make a sound buzz when they press a button,” said Brent Gilson, event student instructor.
Due to its complexity, the program that teaches using is recommended for children from grades fifth through eighth.
According to company director Jose Navarrete, Kids That Code originally started as a class project.
After graduation, he and two other students continued to build the project into the company it is today.
Most of the instructors in these programs are computer science and game design students from Norco College as well as CSUSB.
“I always liked teaching kids, I know in the future when I’m old and retired I’m probably going to go and teach somewhere,” said Skyler Alvarez, event student instructor.
“I help out whenever they need me to or even whenever they have room,” Alvarez continued.
Parents who want to enroll their children into these courses usually pay a fee of about $125.
Though there are discounts for those who register early, Kids That Code also works with different institutions such as Arrowhead United Way to offer scholarships to residents from certain areas.
Kids That Code will be hosting a summer tech camp in June at CSUSB to teach robotics, app development, web design and more.