New year, new resources! Welcoming well-being in 2022

Here at Code Club, we’ve been talking about our New Year’s resolutions. Like many people around the world, our focus this year will be on our health and well-being.

In this blog post, we’ll be sharing how we plan to look after ourselves, each other, and you — our amazing Code Club community! Spoiler alert: It involves three new resources for you.

As we welcome 2022, we want to talk about what we can do to look after our mental health this year. Focusing on good mental health is an excellent New Year’s resolution and it ties in brilliantly with Children’s Mental Health Week, which takes place next month (7–13 February). 

Last year, the team got active to help our physical and mental well-being. We put on our walking shoes to take part in a virtual walk from London to Delhi that took 12 months and 14,251,903 steps! We also had a go at yoga and practised mindfulness to help us stay healthy.

To help us continue with our well-being mindset, we’ve been thinking hard about how we can support the health and well-being of our clubs in the coming months.

NEW well-being project collection

Following the success of our project collections in 2021, we are excited to launch a new project collection all about health and well-being. Each project has step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow to help young coders and educators to learn together and develop their coding skills! 

The Relax and stretch project is an ideal beginner Scratch project. Your coders will motivate people to stretch and exercise regularly throughout the day. 

Your confident coders can work on our Mandala project to create beautiful images by repeating geometric symbols. This is known to be a relaxing and mindful activity, and your young people can make their own mandalas in Scratch with this project.

Mandala Scratch project

And there’s more!

Our NEW Scratch and Python word searches are now live. We hope that your young coders enjoy them as much as our team did! These resources are not only great offline activities, but also encourage mindfulness and a moment of calm for coders in the classroom. 

So whether you are coming back to Code Club after a break or simply want to focus on well-being in your club this term, check out these new resources.

If you’re based in the UK, the USA, India, or Ireland, head to your dashboard to download these three new resources. If you’re based outside of these countries, head to our Code Club International website and find the collection and word searches inside your Club Organiser Pack.

Using code to raise awareness of fire safety!

During National Fire Safety Week (4–11 October 2021) in Ireland, Dublin Fire Brigade, Code Club, and our sister network CoderDojo joined together to launch the #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge across the whole island of Ireland.

Young people were invited to take part to raise awareness of how we can protect ourselves and our homes from fire, by creating educational Scratch projects.

Headquarters of Dublin Fire Brigade

When Dublin Fire Brigade approached Darren Bayliss, Programme Coordinator for Code Club and CoderDojo Ireland, about running a #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge across the whole island to highlight the importance of fire safety with our network of clubs, we were excited to collaborate on this important issue!

“Young people never fail to impress us here at Dublin Fire Station with their enthusiasm and ingenuity with any task in front of them. Fire safety and firefighting is what we do here in the Fire Brigade. But fire safety begins at home, through education and prevention, and that’s why we asked young people to take part in this challenge and help us with our fight against fire.” 

– Dennis Keeley, Chief Fire Officer, Dublin Fire Brigade

Challenge launch 

The #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge was launched at the headquarters of Dublin Fire Brigade on 8 October and ran for six weeks. It was open to all Code Clubs and CoderDojos across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Young people were invited to create a Scratch project related to fire safety. We asked them to include themes such as smoke detectors, electronics safety (e.g. charger safety), candle safety, closing doors at night, having an escape plan, and the number to call in an emergency. Coders worked on their projects individually, and entries were judged in two age categories, ages 8–11 and 12–17.

“At a time when many of our clubs are still paused and teachers are under a great deal of pressure, this Scratch-based #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge was a great way for those who would normally attend clubs to still feel connected whilst expressing their amazing creativity through code.” 

– Darren Bayliss, Programme Coordinator, Code Club and CoderDojo Ireland

Amazing projects

We saw 51 project entries fly in from Code Clubs and CoderDojos across Ireland. 

“With the ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions in place across Ireland, causing many clubs to still be paused, I was delighted to see that this didn’t stop young people from accepting the challenge, getting creative with code to explore the important topic of fire safety.”

– Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club

Before we announce the winners of the #Code4FireSafety Coding Challenge, here are two projects that the team enjoyed! 

Stop, drop and roll

This one made me smile. I love the idea of fire safety from the perspective of the fire!”

– Kat Leadbetter, Community Manager, Code Club
Fire safety – help keep Fearg the Fire away!

The voice-over in this Scratch project shares some excellent fire safety advice in a very clear way. Well done!”

– Zoe Davidson, Programme Coordinator, Code Club

The winners

With 51 fantastic project entries received, a panel of judges from Code Club, CoderDojo, and Dublin Fire Brigade had the tough task of choosing six winners!  

The winners all showed great coding skills and creativity around raising awareness and exploring the topic of fire safety.

Dublin Fire Brigade generously provided the amazing prizes of Raspberry Pi 400 Personal Computer Kits for the young people who had created the winning projects within each age category.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Age category: ages 12–17

1st: Maryem – Playing With Fire – CoderDojo Midlands 

2nd: Sean – Fire Duck – Coláiste Chiaráin 

3rd: Keisha – Fire Safety – Marymount National School, Ballsgrove

Age category: ages 8–11

1st: Andrei – ‘Fire’ – North Offaly CoderDojo

2nd: Oisin – Fire 6 – Rathineska NS

3rd: Matey – Fire Safety – CoderDojo Midlands

Take a look at all of the participants’ amazing Scratch projects in our ‘Fire Safety Week Coding Challenge’ Scratch studio. We’re already planning our coding challenge with Dublin Fire Brigade for 2023, so watch this space! 

Ms Usha’s reflections on her journey as a Code Club India educator

Ms Usha, an IT professional and now Code Club educator shares what inspired her to set up a Code Club, how it is helping learners to gain new skills, and why it is important to empower girls to explore digital making!

Ms Usha

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I work and live in Dubai as an IT professional, but grew up in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India. I am a tech enthusiast and believe that it can change people’s lives.

The opportunity was given to me to leave Andhra Pradesh and explore my career options. I wanted to give that chance — that opportunity — to those children in my old village, which was my motivator to go back and set up a Code Club.

 I wanted a chance to learn something new and expand my own skills.

Each week, I run my club online from Dubai and have sixty plus club members attending via the local school in Andhra Pradesh.

What inspired you to volunteer for Code Club?

I learned about Scratch when volunteering with the Ministry of Education AI series, in the UAE [in] 2019. The projects created by the students impressed me and encouraged me to learn to code.

I had the assumption that coding wasn’t meant for children and that they wouldn’t understand complicated concepts. After looking at Scratch and the Code Club projects and resources — I thought to myself “Why can’t they?”, rather “Why can’t I?”.

Learning never ends, one should be a student for life!

I decided to start a club in Andhra Pradesh, as I wanted to develop the skills and bring out the hidden talents of the children within that community.

What skills can children gain with Code Club?

With technology comes freedom of expression and the chance for children to set out and achieve something on their own.

In doing so, they face challenges that they must work through to reach their goals. Coding helps them to establish a strong sense of perseverance and encourages learners to come up with their own solutions.

They can use these skills in computing, or outside of it — in the form of homework issues, disagreements with friends, or other personal hardship they may face.

Why is it important to empower girls to explore digital making?

Girls still face many barriers when exploring computing and digital making opportunities. From gender discrimination [and] language difficulties to low literacy and lack of funding.

There are many hidden skills gained through computing, including problem-solving, teamwork, and self-motivation which will support girls with their future education.

Programmes like Code Club also help to improve literacy and education and is another way to help girls reach their potential.

Can you share what you enjoy most about running a Code Club?

Learners at Code Club have a positive attitude about learning new things. I enjoy seeing their creativity and imagination come to life through code, they support each other even if it’s online. Sometimes, I can struggle with the local language, but students jump in and help me out, whilst supporting each other.

Has Ms Usha inspired you to set up a Code Club? Take a look at our website or contact the Code Club India team at india@raspberrypi.org.