Computing in the Foundation Stage

Laying Solid Foundations for Primary Computing

EYFS ComputingOur children grow up surrounded by technology. Their everyday interactions and experiences involve it, whether that is inside their homes, at school, out shopping or playing.

Their world is an ever-changing digital world. We owe it to our children to prepare them for living in it.  I believe that it is never too early for children to start learning the fundamental principles of computer science because, as Edsger Dijkstra supposedly famously pointed out “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes”.

Much of computing as a subject can be learned without using computers at all. Primary aged pupils are perfectly capable of executing algorithms. They do so every day: they use algorithms to solve problems in mathematics, learn letter sounds, spell, use grammar – I could go on and on! Algorithms are designed and can be applied in a myriad of different situations.

Computing is much more than the computer, the device or the tool. It’s about developing computational thinking skills (more on that in this post) so that our children can become effective, analytical, problem solvers. It’s also about equipping them with an understanding about how computers and computer systems work so that, combined, they develop transferrable skills which will enable them to design, develop or even just adapt to new tools and technologies in this ever changing digital age.  More than that, they develop important skills that will help them in their everyday lives, throughout their lives.

The best practice for EYFS is where computing activities:

  • are imaginative and fun
  • challenge
  • involve being creative
  • require collaboration and sharing
  • involve listening, understanding, following and giving instructions
  • encourage describing, explaining and elaborating
  • encourage investigation
  • involve problem solving
  • include lots of ‘unplugged’ activities: computing without computers

By offering your children an imaginative, engaging, introduction to computing you help them form solid stepping stones towards their KS1 computing and beyond.

icompute-schemes

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About Liane O'Kane

Liane is a Computer Scientist (BSc (Hons)), Software Engineer & author of iCompute for Primary Schools which supports schools with schemes of work for teaching computing in the EYFS, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. BETT Awards Finalist 2014-2016, ERA Finalist 2016-2017. Featured on BBC Bitesize for Primary Computing and The Hour of Code (code.org)
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