We all want our students to grow up to be successful – and as parents and educators ourselves, we understand this too. It’s important to note that there is no one definition of success for everyone. But in a world that’s increasingly becoming technology-driven, how can we help our children on their journey to their own definition of success?

Today, we speak to our Founder and Lead Educator, Yong Ning Foo, and our experienced educators, Salena Arsad and Evan Lim, on the qualities and skills your child will need to navigate this future in technology. Read on to find out more!

Key 1: Cultivating Grit

Photo of Evan guiding his students through their code
Our educators encourage students to persevere as they code and debug their programs, building grit and resilience.

The path to meaningful success is never smooth, so what helps your child to overcome the obstacles that they will face? Grit is the answer, Angela Duckworth, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded after years of research. She found that high achievers have more grit than talent.

What is grit? Grit is the passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Having grit is fundamental to your little one’s journey because it encourages your child to push on despite new and unfamiliar things.

Our Founder and Lead Educator, Yong Ning Foo, who has had bountiful work experience in both the public and private sectors, agrees that grit is required to overcome obstacles faced. He recalls a fond memory of one of his students: “When he (the student) first joined us, his response to any bug encountered was to wait for the teacher to give him the answer. But our teachers will only give hints and not direct answers, so he was challenged to think and solve the problem by himself and became highly independent in his learning. He then adopted the same mentality to learning Mathematics, and shared with us that his Mathematics grades had improved tremendously.”

Photo of our Early Childhood Educator Salena guiding our Junior Coders Programme student
Tutor Salena encourages our curious little Junior Coder to explore an activity.

This situation is a common occurrence in our coding classes – whether they are preschoolers aged 5 or an 18-year-old teenager – they will definitely encounter problems with their code and will need to problem-solve it. This process of debugging trains students to become problem solvers and also encourages perseverance and grit.

“Those that continue on would often find that the results are satisfying,” shares Salena, our educator with professional experience in Early Childhood Education and who graduated with a Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) from Nanyang Technological University. “The confidence gained from this experience would push them to new heights of growth, encouraging them to further expand their knowledge no matter how difficult it will be.”

Read: Cultivate Resilience with the Power of Inquiry-Based Learning

How can you nurture your child’s grit at home?

How can you nurture your child’s grit at home?

Encourage a healthy attitude to mistakes to instil a growth mindset. Share about failure being an opportunity to learn and grow. Praise effort, not the outcome!

Key 2: Turning Everyday Experiences into Learning Opportunities

Curious little ones often have lots of questions, and life experiences such as playtime, meal times, and learning a new skill can also become huge learning opportunities! For example, as they learn to communicate with computers via codes in our coding classes, they also learn to communicate with their educators and peers, honing essential life skills such as social and emotional development.

Gif of Salena's P101 Scratch 1 student Dylan presenting
We make it a point to nurture our students’ public speaking skills – even in our Scratch 1 classes when our young coders are just aged 7 to 9!

Did you know that teaching your child to regulate their emotions can also help them communicate more effectively? Better self-regulation means that they’ll be more attuned to and can address others’ needs efficiently, helping them improve their communication.

Encouraging your little one to share about things they like, such as their toys, can also be an excellent springboard to hone their ability in public speaking! At Coding Lab, we also make it a point for our students to have a Hackathon and Project Showcase at the end of each course to present and share what they have coded. Aside from building their communication skills, “We want them to be confident and proud of their creation, and to get others excited about it,” Yong Ning shares.

How can you enrich your child's learning beyond the classroom?

How can you enrich your child’s learning beyond the classroom?

We have some tips from Tutor Salena Arsad, our educator with professional experience in Early Childhood Education and who graduated with a Master of Education (Developmental Psychology) from Nanyang Technological University.

Encourage your child to express their thoughts and feelings. Instead of asking them general questions like “How was your day?”, follow up on specific ones about how they feel every day. I always ask my students, “What happened? Why do you feel that way?” By asking such questions, they will need to break down their thoughts and emotions into logical facts, and part of emotional regulation is to look inside and understand the reason why they feel that certain emotion. Following that, I would provide tips on how to handle such a situation if it ever arises again.

Teach your child to identify their emotions. Examine what triggers these emotions, and how they can manage these emotions themselves. Do not encourage negative rash behavioural responses – even ignoring can mean encouragement. Instead, show them the appropriate responses to that situation.

Spark their curiosity. Your child is naturally curious and this is a good characteristic as it tends to motivate them to find out more about the topic on their own. It’s important to encourage your child to explore and ask them questions to maintain their level of curiosity. In doing so, they also form connections between what they’ve learnt in class and what they experience in life.

Key 3: Picking Up Prized Technical Skills from Young

Music, dance, martial arts, sports, brain training, drama – there are so many enrichment classes to attend and so many technical skills for your child to acquire! Learning skills from a young age is the best opportunity to develop their brain and to give our little ones a competitive edge to stand out. But with so many to choose from, which one should you pick to future-proof your child?

“To be future-ready, our young need to be able to think critically, assess options and make sound decisions. They should have a desire to learn, explore and be prepared to think out of the box.”

– Nurturing Our Young for the Future, Competencies for the 21st Century, Ministry of Education (MOE) Singapore

Photo of Yong Ning guiding his students
Our young Scratch students are hard at work to train up their Computational Thinking Skills with Yong Ning’s guidance!

Technology is advancing rapidly and is quickly changing the way we live, work and play. “Whichever path is chosen, it will cross paths with technology,” advises Yong Ning. “As a parent and an educator, I would want all my children and students to be equipped with Computational Thinking skills (problem-solving skills derived from computing and computer science, to solve problems across all other areas), so that they can competently partake in the development and application of technology in whichever field they choose.” As our students learn to code, they are also learning to use technology – another key skill in our future, where they will have to pick up new technology quickly, efficiently and independently.

Indeed, technology is ubiquitous and even MOE is beginning to prepare educators and students for our tech-driven future. Every primary student will learn simple coding in school, and every secondary student will own their own personal learning device by 2028.

“Technology is fast-changing,” agrees Tutor Evan Lim, our educator who mainly works with teenagers, “so I always encourage my students to read up more and share with me what they have learnt. There are a lot of different resources available on the internet that they can utilise to learn more about different things.” For example, Tutor Evan’s passionate student Ng Chen-Yi was just 13 years old when he built on his existing coding knowledge and independently learnt to code his very own 3D shooter game with Ursina in Python.

Read Coding Lab Student Feature: Ng Chen-Yi, 13, Hwa Chong Institution

It’s important that your child learns a range of skills to set them up for success in the future. “There isn’t a single definition of success,” Yong Ning reaffirms. “It is different for each person as it is shaped not just by societal expectations but also the person’s personality, and their own life experiences. Every student will thus have to create their own definition of success.”

Heard of the age-old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”? Cultivating grit, turning everyday experiences into learning opportunities and picking up prized technical skills from young are some key ways that you can equip your children. With lifelong skills such as Computational Thinking, communication and social and emotional development, you can nurture your future leader to become successful – no matter the path they choose.

Why not give your child a headstart with our award-winning, MIT-inspired coding curriculum for ages 5 to 18?

Want more tips on how to sustain this journey to success? Read Next: Health is wealth: Brain food for a healthy mind and body.

(Written by Lakshmi, Nicole, Amanda and Edited by Cheryl)




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