#Girl Power: Meet Sarah, our talented young coder. Starting from ground zero,  she has come a long way – after all, she clinched an Honourable mention at the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) in March 2018, in just less than six months of learning to code. How did she do it? Read more from our plucky student as she shares with us her journey with coding and how it has impacted her life.

Q: Tell us how you got started with coding. What do you like most about it?
Sarah: It was Coding Lab that sparked my interest in coding. In the past, I’d never imagined using a computer for anything more than a Google search. But after a few lessons at Coding Lab, as I began to take my first steps into the Python programming language, I fell head over heels in love with coding. My interest surprised even myself! My teacher Mr. Foo is truly inspirational. As I  started with no coding experience, he guided me with infinite patience and would be more than happy to fill the board with diagrams and explanations just to make sure that I completely understood a concept. His enthusiasm really got me into coding- passion for coding is contagious! I started out with the Python meets Math course and I think it’s a great course for easing complete beginners like me into computers and coding. After you complete the course, you’ll have enough programming knowledge to read and understand code, pick up new languages and, most importantly, explore things through coding.

Sarah and her family, trekking in the USA
Sarah, with her family, trekking in the USA

Q: It took you less than six months to participate in your first coding competition. How did you manage that?
Sarah: Well, The one thing I like most about coding is the freedom and possibility it presents. The fundamentals of coding are quite simple, but there’s so much that you can do just using variables, functions, and loops! I understood this when I was learning Python, but only truly appreciated it when I began learning algorithms and C++ to take part in the NOI. Mr. Foo started teaching me sorting algorithms about halfway through my December break, and I still remember my delight when I realized that I was beginning to explore coding at deeper and very relevant level. That’s why I decided to try out the NOI as a personal challenge. It was tough, but fun!

The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), held at the NUS School of Computing
The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), held at the NUS School of Computing

“After learning about graphs and data structures, I saw how coding can be used for modelling and organizing real-world information- just thinking about it makes me excited!”

Q: That’s really impressive! Not many would dare to compete so quickly! How did you feel about it?
Sarah: Well, I think I just felt that there was nothing to lose! I was definitely a little nervous before the competition, but I always saw it as just another stepping stone to an even better understanding of coding. I faced a steep learning curve while preparing for the competition, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Sarah, receiving her award at the NOI competition in March 2018
Sarah, receiving her award at the NOI competition in March 2018

Q: Now that the competition is over, what else do you think you want to do with coding?
Sarah: I’ve really just brushed the surface of computer science. Coding is really a language, and just like someone learning a second spoken language, I’m still learning how to express myself and get my ideas down in clean (and readable!) code. I know that this only comes with practice and experience, so in the meantime, I plan to continue my journey into the awesome world of algorithms. I really want to be able to understand algorithms on a high level so that I can comfortably modify them and use them to solve complex problems. I hope that someday I can even design sophisticated algorithms myself! Apart from that, I also want to explore coding for modelling and simulations. That also makes me very excited.

Q: Designing algorithms – that’s fantastic. Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?
Sarah: Coding is an important skill to have not just because people with a coding background earn higher salaries- more than that, coding gives you power over the technology that will only play an increasingly significant role in your life. Speaking from a teenager’s perspective, there’s never a day when I don’t use my phone or computer. Coding also opens your mind to a different way of thinking.

“I find myself applying the logic and analytical skills I’ve picked up in coding both in school and in everyday life.”

Q: Apart from coding, what else do you like to do in your spare time? What’s a typical day for you like; how do you unwind at home after school?
Sarah: Well, to be honest, coding has slowly become the hobby I really enjoy- but I still love baking! When I’m not studying or coding, I’m usually in the kitchen covered in flour or busy scouring blogs for recipes. I’m also learning tai chi fan, which I find a fun and challenging exercise. And yes! fishkeeping is one of my hobbies and I rear Discus fish at home.

Discus FIsh - One of Sarah's hobbies (Believe it or not!)
Rearing Discus Fish – One of Sarah’s hobbies (Believe it or not!)

Q: Coding, baking, fishkeeping – way cool! so what do you think you will end up doing when you grow up?
Sarah: I’m still rather tentative when it comes to my career aspirations, but I really want to study math and computer science in college. And I honestly can’t imagine myself in a job unrelated to either of these fields- so maybe I’ll end up as a coder, who knows!

How Sarah unwinds: Baking cream puffs
How Sarah unwinds: Baking cream puffs

Q: We hope so too! Lastly, in the current field of STEM, there is sometimes the mistaken impression that it is ‘only for boys’. How do you think girls can be encouraged to pursue their passion in Math, Science and coding? Do you have any tips for young girls who want to code? 
Sarah: To all girls who are thinking about getting into coding, my advice is to not be afraid and try it out! It’s never too late to begin coding, and everyone- even experienced coders- has been a newbie at some point in time. If you find that you really like coding, then go ahead and explore at your own pace, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment! Starting to learn how to code is the hardest part.

“You’ll definitely encounter problems and get frustrated at times, but with patience, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve. There’s no one who can’t or shouldn’t learn how to code.”

Also- speaking from experience, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the troves of information online. Don’t let this get the better of you. Just take things step by step. Break down a hard concept into bite-sized chunks. If you need a couple days to process something, that’s perfectly fine! Coding is a lifelong journey. Personally, even though I’ve learned a lot in the past few months I only feel that the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know.

“It’s weird but true- so just be sure take the time to appreciate what you’re learning, and don’t be intimidated by the vastness of coding, because that’s where all the possibility lies, and that’s what makes coding beautiful!”

Sarah is currently a JC1 student at Hwa Chong International. She attended Python Meets Math class from 2017 – 2018 and received an honourable mention at the 2018 NOI competition, in less than six months after she picked up coding. 

You’ve probably heard her lovely vocals either on television or at landmarks all over Singapore where she has performed as a soloist. Meet Lauren, the child music prodigy who, at the age of 9, sang at Carnegie Hall after winning 1st place at the American Protégé International Voice Competition in New York. Also a self-confessed Science nerd, and a member of her school Science Club and MENSA, Lauren is living proof that arts and science can go together.


Here’s a peek at Lauren’s beautiful vocals with “Bring Him Home” – Les Miserables

We caught up with our talented young student regarding her school life, the importance of persistence and hard work, and why she thinks coding is fun.

Q: Tell us how you got started with coding. What challenges did you face when you first started?

Lauren: I am a member of my school’s Infocomm club where we get to learn about coding. The first few times I ran my code, there were always some errors somewhere. I had to keep correcting and fixing my code until it worked. It was frustrating, and I would say it feels kinda like you are getting through a tough Math problem. But I felt so relieved and happy when I got my code to work. I just feel so good when I see that it works.

So this holiday, no matter how busy I was, I wanted to take some lessons because I really enjoy coding.

“I made my own quadratic equation solver that literally spews out all the answers to my Math homework.”

Q:What do you like most about coding?

Lauren: To me, coding is like talking with the computer. I also like that I can start with a blank canvas and I am free to create anything I want with it.  Do you like video games? You could create your own games from Scratch. Do you like art? You could draw and create all sorts of pictures and tessellations with the computer. Coding could also be a platform to express your creativity. For me, I made my own quadratic equation solver that literally spews out all the answers to my Math homework.

Lauren, with her quadratic equation solver
Lauren, with her quadratic equation solver

I have to be really persistent, and I thank my coding tutor (Mona) for being so encouraging to me. Sometimes when I run my code, an error comes up. When I try to fix the problem, it opens up another problem. So I have to keep fixing and trying, over and over again until I finally get it right. In that way, coding tests my patience but coding is still super cool!


9-year-old Lauren, singing “Music of the Night” at the Esplanade

“Coding is a skill that will always be relevant to anyone.”

Q: How does it help you at school? Do you think it’s a good skill to have?
Lauren: Technology is getting more and more important. Even if you don’t want to do something in the field of STEM in the future, practically every company has a technological component to it. So to me, coding is a skill that will always be relevant to anyone.

For example, If I am trying to solve or accomplish a certain outcome with my code, I have to logically break down my thinking process, analyze it and then start writing my code. More often than not, the first time you run it, there will be an error somewhere. I will usually have to scan through my lines of code, detect the problems and then try to troubleshoot from there. This has trained me to solve problems creatively. Coding can also be used to help us in our everyday activities. I love to eat Oreos, so making my very own Oreo shopping cart to keep track of all the different types of Oreos I hope to buy was an amazing experience.

Lauren is currently in Year 3 at Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary), as a candidate for the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme. She is also a member of MENSA. Lauren attended the Python Meets Math class in 2017. 

Coding Lab Feature – Parent’s World Magazine Issue 65, Nov/Dec 2017

Our Founder, Mr Foo was recently featured in the Nov/Dec’17 issue of Parents’ World Magazine. In it, he shares the importance of building your child’s confidence in problem-solving, and how learning computational thinking early helps them along. Also, get some insights and tips on managing screen time wisely with your child.

Parents World Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017
Parents World Magazine, Nov/Dec 2017

1711 - Parents World Feature Pg76-1 1711 - Parents World Feature Pg77-1

What makes Coding Lab a school that is different? How do we continuously strive to make your child’s learning more fun, more insightful, and more applicable?

Find out more from our Co-founder, Yong Ning as he shares his passion to create a school that inspires, in this article feature with Little Magazine.

“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement and constant change.”
― Abraham Lincoln

A Personal Touch - Inspiring Passion in Coding with the child-centred approach
A Personal Touch – Inspiring Passion in Coding with the child-centered approach

Congratulations to our Co-Founder, Ms Candice Wang who was recently featured receiving the prestigious School Of The Year award (Computer Science) on behalf of Coding Lab.

Coding Lab is proud to be recognised amongst the top schools and products in Singapore, alongside BusyBees, Heguru Education, Royal Carribean Cruises, and Sophie La Girafe.

A huge Thank You to all Parents and Students for your unwavering support.

Candice Wang, Co-Founder of Coding Lab
Candice Wang, Co-Founder of Coding Lab, on winning the award
Our Co-Founder, Candice, featured in Little Magazine
Our Co-Founder, Candice, featured in Little Magazine

Happy Birthday, Singapore! A National Day ScratchJr Animation


“Count on Me, Singapore” – How do we raise our Singapore Flag to move up continuously? Our 4-6 year olds learn to code with National Pride, belting out a familiar favourite.

We got to test out the swankiest library in town – Tampines Regional Library and the newly-opened state-of-the-art IMDA Pixel Labs, where we were given the privilege to conduct a workshop as part of the opening series for the Pixel Labs. We throughly enjoyed teaching the little ones how to code, with a combination of craft, kinasethetic action, and of course ScratchJr blocks. Way to go, kiddos!

Our student, Jake was recently featured in #ALittleSomebody, by Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报. Congratulations to Jake and his cute family! From his winning Bat out of a Bat game, to a Birthday App for his Dad, to a beautiful game for his little brother, Jake is truly a young talent in coding.

P/s: Catch our Founder, Foo Yong Ning in action as he coaches Jake and his classmates during their lesson.

Doing our part to train up our young coders to become future leaders in technology!

Coding Lab – Winner of School of the Year (Computer Science), Little Magazine

Coding Lab is proud to be a winner of the prestigious little Award.

Getting an award like this, which is given only to a selected group of top enrichment centres and parenting products in Singapore, really serves as a solid affirmation to the hard work our team has put in, and gives us a strong mandate to continue our pursuit to provide the best coding experience for all of our students.

Rest assured, we will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to work harder, to push the boundaries, to ensure that we keep evolving so that our students get only the best from us. We will continue to do what we do best – fuelling the flame of excitement in our little coders!

Most of all, a huge Thank You to all our students, parents and partners, for your support!

little logo_for web little magazine award 2017_Coding Lab

Little Award Write-up
Coding Lab awarded School of the Year by Little Magazine, 2017

Train Adventures with Code on ScratchJr

Excited to be a part of the official re-opening of the new, cutting-edge Bukit Panjang Public Library this morning.

We were featured in this video by The Straits Times. The kids had loads of fun being a train and following the commands!

Every child has a special book that they like to read and reread. With technology, we help bring their imagination to life, enabling them to remember and to tell the story in their own special way – the way they want.

Maisy's Train - A Childhood Favourite
Maisy’s Train – A Childhood Favourite

Based on the classic, Maisy’s Train, the children went on a Train Adventure with Code and understood the importance of giving specific instructions, as well as the key movement blocks in ScratchJr.

The kids forming a Train to follow the coding commands
The kids forming a Train to follow the coding commands
Pointing out the part of the code that makes the train grow bigger
Pointing out the part of the code that makes the train grow bigger

We also welcomed a very special guest; Minister Vivian Balakrishnan who popped by during the programme!

Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with our Co-Founder, Yong Ning Foo
Minister Vivian Balakrishnan with our Co-Founder, Yong Ning Foo

Seeing the look of joy and delight on the kids faces really made our day. We can’t wait to bring more stories to life with more children, with exciting programmes planned at our National Library Singapore!

As part of the official opening series of the Bukit Panjang Regional Library, we also conducted a series of coding workshops for preschoolers. The theme, Train Adventures with code provided loads of fun and entertainment as they learned how to program their trains both physically and digitally.