Singapore is increasingly embracing coding and programming in recent years, with the government pushing for a #SmartNation where the society, economy and government will become increasingly digitalised.
As of 2021, 99% of Singapore government services are digital from end to end, and Singapore is ranked the world’s smartest city for the third year running (Source).
The government also aims to make the entire society digitally inclusive and gain basic coding and computational thinking skills. One of these efforts includes students needing to complete 10 hours of compulsory coding in primary school. Schools offering DSA in programming are also increasing in number (Full list: MOE)
Understandably, interest in learning to code has increased more than five-fold over the past 3 years and parents are looking for good quality courses for their child. How does this translate to our work with students? Here at Coding Lab, we’re parents too. And we know what we want not only for our own kids, but for every single child that steps through our glass doors.
“I started Coding Lab when my son was born. Having come from the corporate sector, I knew that programming was a key skill that I wanted my kids to pick up. My wife and I took the plunge and started Coding Lab back then. She calls me obsessive when I hold our tutors to the high standards of teaching I went through at MIT, but then again she’s very particular about the learning environment and the human touch. It’s not easy to please both of us, but we’d like to think that our unwavering dedication to the highest standards in all areas ensure we provide the best learning experience for all of our students.
When we started, it was just the 2 of us. Today, we are proud to have a trusted team who share our passion to groom tomorrow’s leaders in technology, and uphold our vision for uncompromising standards.”
Yong Ning Foo, Founder and Educator, Coding Lab
Here are 5 key factors we think a great coding school must have:-
1. Comprehensive curriculum that drives results
With many programming languages out there and rapidly developing technology, the school’s curriculum should be comprehensive and up-to-date. It should prepare students with a strong foundation in programming as well as hands-on experience working on projects with real world applications, so that they can continue to benefit outside of the classroom.
At Coding Lab, we have an MIT-inspired, award-winning curriculum that is well-researched and thoughtfully curated to suit different age groups. We selected main programming languages for each of our age groups to learn in-depth: Scratch (7-9), App Inventor and Python (10-12) and Python (13-18), with a focus on computational thinking skills for ages 5-6.
Some centres allow their students to flit from one platform to the other. This means that students spend the bulk of their time getting accustomed to various platforms in a superficial fashion. Often, this is due to lack of expertise in the subject area, as it requires highly trained professionals to teach tough topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Data Analytics to teens or young children.
For example, our Ages 7-9 curriculum takes students through close to 180 hours of learning, using largely the Scratch platform, but allowing our students to deep dive into various areas of programming from Cognitive AI to Mathematical Modelling. This helps ensure students build up a strong foundation in programming, and most importantly know how to apply that knowledge in different areas of their life.
Flitting about multiple programming platforms is akin to learning how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on 6 different instruments and claiming that one can play all 6 competently after learning one song on each. Similarly, it could be detrimental to choose a centre that keeps changing programming platforms in the name of ‘exposure’ , which really just means that your child is not getting the deep exposure required. A good school must responsibly ensure that their students achieve true mastery of computational thinking, and how it is applied, regardless of platform used.
2. Research-Backed Structured Roadmap
“Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. … Thinking like a computer scientist means more than being able to program a computer. It requires thinking at multiple levels of abstraction. We have witnessed the influence of computational thinking on other disciplines. For example, machine learning has transformed statistics. … Computational biology is changing the way biologists think. Similarly, computational game theory is changing the way economists think; nanocomputing, the way chemists think; and quantum computing, the way physicists think. Computational thinking is tomorrow’s reality.”
Jeanette Wing, Executive Vice President for Research and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University
Research has stated the importance of emphasising computational thinking skills. This is especially pointed out by Jeanette Wing, Professor of Computer Science who is holder of a doctoral degree from MIT, and has been recognised with distinguished service awards from the Computing Research Association and the Association for Computing Machinery. Our first-hand experience and results also support this – our teenage students, with a strong foundation of core computational thinking concepts almost exclusively in Python, were able to later on pick up C++ programming very quickly to clinch 10 Medals in the National Olympiad in Informatics 2023.
Overall, we ensure our curriculum is well-structured, comprehensive and designed to prepare students to become future leaders in technology. Hear directly from our founder, who shares his philosophy and research on how we crafted our Coding Lab curriculum to be Best-In-Class.
3. Reputation and Track Record
As much as schools claim to be good, we can only be assured of their claims based on the school’s reputation and reviews by parents and students themselves.
Coding Lab has a strong reputation as a leading coding school in Singapore, having received numerous accolades and recognition for its innovative curriculum, experienced educators and outstanding learning environment.
We are dedicated to nurturing future leaders in technology here at Coding Lab. We provide opportunities for students to apply their skills to solve real-world problems – both in the classroom and through competition experience. Whether it’s featuring their work in our #CodingLabStudents series or encouraging them to participate in our annual International Coding Showcase (held in conjunction with our Japan campuses), our student achievements give our students a voice with which to share their passion.
However, it is impossible and unethical for us to claim to fully guarantee any particular results. What we CAN do is to work together with our students to ensure that their results are the best that they can be. You can trust us to provide everything we can for our students, so you can leave your child in our capable hands. Our track record definitely speaks for itself! After spending time working with our students, they have brilliant works to showcase to the public, and we are proud to have been part of their coding journey.
Our reputation has been acknowledged by various media outlets such as the Straits Times (we have been featured 3 times!), Channel NewsAsia and Channel 8, Lianhao Zaobao, etc. for our contributions to the education sector and commitment to promoting technology and innovation in Singapore.
Hear from some of our parents and students firsthand:
“Coding Lab has been an excellent learning journey for my son. He is highly motivated to attend every lesson and loves the engaging curriculum. The instructors are knowledgeable and patient, which helps him to understand the concepts easily. Highly recommended!”
– Felicia C.
“My daughter has been attending Coding Lab for over a year and has grown to love coding. The instructors are passionate and supportive, and the curriculum is well-designed for children. I appreciate the regular updates and feedback on my daughter’s progress. Overall, we’re very satisfied with the quality of instruction and the learning environment.”
– Aileen T.
“Coding Lab has been a fantastic experience for my son. He has learned so much and is always excited to share his projects with us. The instructors are knowledgeable, patient, and supportive, and the curriculum is engaging and age-appropriate. We highly recommend Coding Lab to any parent who wants to give their child a head start in coding.”
– Henry L.
“My daughter loves coding and has been attending Coding Lab for the past few months. She is always excited to attend classes and loves the engaging curriculum. The instructors are patient and supportive, and they always provide timely feedback on her progress. I highly recommend Coding Lab to any parent who wants to give their child a quality coding education.”
– Grace Y.
Throught these years, we have built a strong reputation among our students and parents for our commitment to providing high-quality coding education and fostering a supportive and inclusive learning community. As a leading coding school in the region, we believe that every child has a chance to shine; whether they want to program a Health Advisor app for Grandpa, a Python kitchen timer for mum, or participate in a competition – We nurture future leaders in technology.
4. Passionate and Highly-Qualified instructors
A good school needs to be have well-trained educators who are knowledgeable about their field and is passionate about teaching. They should also be able to provide guidance, mentorship, and support throughout their students’ learning journey.
At Coding Lab, our instructors are highly experienced and knowledgeable about their respective fields. Graduates from top universities with prior teaching experience and background in technology, our educators come from various sectors such as teaching, cybersecurity, engineering, computer science, defence technology, and more!
To ensure the best learning experience for our students, all educators undergo rigorous training about teaching methods and the curriculum so that we deliver what we promise. Even our enrolment consultants who ensure the smooth running of our centres are properly trained to interact with our students, with a strong background in hospitality!
Our educators support our students in various parts of their coding journey. Whether it be to spark their passion for coding, or to prepare them for Direct School Admission through coding, or help them for competitions such as the National Olympiad for Informatics, our passionate and dedicated educators have done them all and our students’ achievements reflect exactly that.
Our stringent hiring process ensures that our educators are top-notch in both knowledge and teaching abilities, and we’re glad to note that parents definitely agree with the high quality teaching that your children receive here at Coding Lab!
5. State-of-the-art, Comfortable learning environment
A school should have a comfortable learning environment with access to the necessary (as well as helpful) equipment and tools so that our children can thrive.
When it comes to equipment and tools, Coding Lab definitely is on top with our spacious, air-conditioned classrooms and all technology and devices such as laptops/ computers and phones provided for class use. With our boardroom-style classroom, with swivel chairs, full length glass windows, and even view of the sea from our Parkway Parade branch, our centres are made to feel like our students’ second home!
We also adopt modern technology to aid us with our teaching (and to display to students how technology can help ease our lives!). One example would be our Smart Interactive Projectors where our educators and students can annotate to visualise and illustrate our points. Other equipment such as drawing pads are ready for our educators’ use, so that our students can fully understand the lessons!
So to conclude…
Just like our children’s school admission exercises, we want to ensure they are with the cream of the crop and receive the best education possible with the most supportive learning environment. We have ensured that Coding Lab meets all of the criteria when it comes to being a good coding school, and dare we say it, the best in Singapore! 😉
Now that you know what you can consider before making your decision, why not choose us to kickstart your child’s coding journey? 😊
(Written by Thinzar)