If you’re a parent looking to contribute to your child’s school community, how about starting a Code Club? Whether you’re a coding expert or an absolute beginner, we’re looking for enthusiastic parent volunteers who can start an after-school coding club in their child’s school.
Interested to find out more? We spoke to Elbrie de Kock, the co-founder of Tech Age Kids, a blog about technology for kids and families. She started a Code Club in Chandlers Ford in January 2016, and she told us about her experiences so far:
I was inspired to start my own Code Club whilst trying to help my son find his feet in the world of computing as an enthusiastic young coder. I wanted to make sure my own kids and their peers at school have access to the fantastic resources Code Club have to offer.
At first, fear of not having the right qualifications prevented me from starting a Code Club. However, now I’ve got started, it’s incredible, and I realise my fear was unfounded.
Getting the club up and running
I registered as a volunteer on the Code Club site and then approached the school about starting the Code Club in November last year. From there, we sent out letters to all year 5 and 6 classes and it didn’t take long to fill the club and have a waiting list. We used all the resources available on the Code Club website to help us get started quickly and after Christmas we were up and running.
Our Code Club started in January 2016 and we used the curriculum and materials provided by Code Club straight out of the box. We meet once a week after school for an hour in the school’s computer lab with 18 year 5 and 6 pupils. The school is really lucky to have such a fantastic facility, allowing each child to have their own PC and we have room to grow.
Together with a teacher from the school and 2 other parent volunteers we decided to start with the 1st Scratch module and work our way through the projects. The kids found the first projects fairly easy, but now we are starting to get to more challenging ones. We’ve also added some fun elements, by trying out their Scratch projects with a Makey Makey.
The kids and school liked the Makey Makeys so much, they are planning a fundraising project to buy cool tech gadgets for the school. One fun idea was to host a Code Club for parents!
The benefits of volunteering
I am not a computer programmer and work in digital marketing. Code Club has definitely shown me learning new digital skills isn’t hard. If the kids can do it, so can I. Every week, I try out the project we are going to do at the Code Club at home. I’m really enjoying it and impressed with my own growing coding skills.
My 7 year old son attends the club with me. I love being able to be part of an activity he really enjoys at his school. It’s great to be able to support your child in their school by starting a Code Club. I see the time I give to prepare and run the Code Club at my kids school as important as volunteering on the PTA or governing body. The school benefits from having a computing focussed activity, your child benefits from seeing you take an active interest in their schooling and you benefit from enabling other kids to be creative with technology.
In terms of volunteering with Code Club, it is really easy and there is a lot of support in the Code Club community. I would say, don’t over think it, just do it! There is a lot of support on the way.
Favourite Code Club moments
I think Code Club is brilliant, and my favourite moments are when the kids’ eyes light up when they get something right, or they have a new experience with technology that is fun and creative. The last week before half-term, we did a more tricky Scratch project. It was fascinating to see how differently each child responded to the challenges they faced.
My best moment has to be, when one of the coders, said at the end of the session, eyes shining with excitement; “Elbrie, I just can’t wait to get home and solve this problem! I am going to get it right!” Now that is what I call a great success.
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