If you have a child interested in, or well on the way to, becoming a computer-coding genius, then it's not too late to make room in his or her fall schedule for a brand-new club.
Starting Monday, Sept. 10, children ages 6 to 8 can take part in Old Worthington Library's Scratch Jr. Club, which meets from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays through Oct. 8 at the library, 820 High St. At each meeting, library staff members will teach children about Scratch Jr., an introductory coding language that enables them to create their own interactive stories and games.
Inspired by the popular Scratch programming language used by ages 8 and older, Scratch Jr. is developed specifically for younger children to introduce them to computer science. It focuses on learning through creative expression, giving children the opportunity to develop characters and stories using coding.
As children snap together Scratch Jr.'s graphical programming blocks, the characters in their stories move, jump, dance and sing. Children can modify characters by adding voices, sounds and photos, and then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life.
Learning to code is like learning another language, and the earlier a child begins picking it up, the more rapidly he or she will understand it. In addition to learning how to create and express themselves with a computer, Scratch Jr. teaches problem-solving and sequencing skills, and increases comfort with math and language – all of which help students in school.
Participants are welcome to bring their own devices to each Scratch Jr. Club meeting – please download the free app in advance – or share the library's devices.
Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.