Kids Code Jeunesse helps design BC’s coding curriculum

Local nonprofit Kids Code Jeunesse is joining Vancouver’s Lighthouse Labs to train teachers in BC and design the province’s new coding curriculum.

The historic agreement saw BC’s ministry of education award Kids Code Jeunesse and Lighthouse Labs (with offices in Toronto and Montreal as well) a contract to bring coding and computational thinking into classrooms. The two organizations will share duties designing the curriculum and training workshops for teachers of students from grades six to nine.

“It’s very exciting on many levels. The fact that the ministry of education is taking it so seriously and supporting the teachers is fantastic,” Kate Arthur, the founder of Kids Code Jeunesse, told MTLinTECH “Making sure that teachers know how to implement coding into the curriculum is the most important thing and we’ve been doing it for three years now here in Quebec.”

Earlier this year, the B.C. government unveiled its plan to introduce computational thinking and coding for K-12 school curriculum.

Kids Code Jeunesse and Lighthouse Labs will design teacher modules to be used in the classroom as well as actually training teachers to train other teachers within the school boards. The draft design has already been completed, something the two organizations had been working on since August.

“We’ve done work with Lighthouse Labs and they work in many of the ways we do, so we thought we’d make a bigger impact if we joined together,” said Arthur.

Arthur also expressed a hope that one day the province of Quebec would mandate coding and computational thinking into school curriculums. In Quebec Kids Code Jeunesse has been informally training teachers within school boards for several years, including the English Montreal School Board. Moreover, Kids Code Jeunesse is supported by tech giants like Microsoft and Ubisoft, the Montreal video game maker. They’re part of Ubisoft’s Codex program, which targets 13 initiatives that encourage students at all levels to stay in school via video game development.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were the first two provinces to incorporate coding and computational thinking to their school curriculums.

“We’d like to see it in Quebec now,” said Arthur. “Any connections to help the movement here with our ministry of education would be great. We’ve tried in the past to start conversations but we haven’t had any response. They know we’re here, we’re getting a great response from school boards and schools and there’s a lot of us working hard.”

In addition to contract from the Ministry of Education, Lighthouse Labs and KCJ hosted Code Class, its first teacher training session that took place last weekend in Toronto & Port Coquitlam, BC. Over 150 teachers were introduced to coding and computational thinking during the day-long workshop.

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