Coding for Amsterdam (Dutch link) is a programme that aims to introduce coding to pupils in Amsterdam's primary schools. Coding is undoubtedly one of the most crucial skills to have in our ever-growing digital age. Preparing children now means they will face fewer obstacles when they finally hit the job market. Teaching children how to code will create a strong tech talent pool – a pool that is essential for startups, scale-ups, corporates and innovation in general.
Coding for Amsterdam's phases
The programme features two phases. During the first phase, all primary schools are offered an introductory coding lesson from a guest lecturer. Schools get to choose one of the methods themselves, to better suit the needs of the students and increase the chance of successful adoption.
During the second phase, participating schools can to carry on with the coding lessons. Also, StartupAmsterdam aim to offer workshops for teachers to introduce them to relevant teaching materials and lesson plans. In doing so, we strive to inspire the teachers to get started on teaching children to code, as well as to inspire their fellow colleagues.
Where are we now?
Since Coding for Amsterdam launched in 2016, over 80 primary schools have joined the programme, meaning about 2,400 children have taken part. In addition, StartupAmsterdam have co-organised digital skills workshops for almost 160 teachers.
This is a big achievement; however, there are still many more people to inspire, so we will continue to reach out to schools to join the innovative programme.
The next steps
The next step is to help schools implement coding lessons into the curriculum. By organising workshops for school boards and directors, we will gradually convince relevant stakeholders in education on the importance of the issue and help them introduce the next steps. Furthermore, the workshops will serve a facilitation purpose, enabling the schools to know where to go when they encounter problems.
To realise the Coding for Amsterdam programme, StartupAmsterdam have been working with partners who have an impressive track record in coding education, including Bomberbot, New Tech Kids, ITRandsteden and CodeUur (Dutch link). The ABN AMRO Foundation sponsors the programme with manpower and by ensuring that the basic requirements for coding lessons are met at schools; for example, they have donated over 1,200 laptops so far.
Visit CodingforAmsterdam.nl (Dutch link) to get involved with the programme. For more information, check out #Coding4Amsterdam on Twitter and Facebook for updates.