How Teaching Kids to Code Teaches Them Valuable Skills Beyond Computers

This post is sponsored, but the opinions are 100% our own.

coding class in san franciscoThere is no shortage of interesting extracurricular activities for San Francisco kids to choose, and the role parents play in making sure their children choose wisely is an important one.  As a busy mom of three, the last thing I want is to be shuttling my kids around to classes they are just not that interested in, while their siblings are forced to tag along.  

Over the years, my oldest child has had the chance to try his hand at a variety of enriching after school activities – some he liked and some he could do without.  As he matured, my hope was that we’d find something for him that he really loved, would complement his love of math and science, and maybe even have some practical use in the real world.  I’m happy to say that last year we found it:  MVCode!

teaching kids to code in san francisco

MVCode started in Mill Valley in 2013 by an engineer dad who volunteered to teach a few of his son’s soccer team friends to code after practice one day.  The kids loved what they were learning so much they wanted to keep it going, and they spread the word to their friends.  The club grew, and, as they say, the rest is history.  MVCode expanded from Marin to San Francisco, the Peninsula and the East Bay last year and they continue to grow their membership of kids who want to code.  

We were lucky to learn about the San Francisco location of MVCode when they opened in the Fall of 2015, and I immediately signed up my son for a trial class.  He liked it enough that we signed him up for the monthly membership.  It wasn’t long before he was hooked. He started with the basics, learning Scratch, a beginner level programming language, and quickly moved onto more advanced languages like Javascript and Python, as well as the game development platform, Unity.  Once a week, he attends the club for 75 minutes where students and teachers work in a 4:1 ratio, and he can dive deep into his online lessons with assistance from the MV staff.  

coding class in san francisco for kidsAs a bonus, the membership includes up to two hours of drop-in coding time on weekends, if he wants to continue working on a project.  There are teachers on site during the weekend drop-in hours to answer questions and help the students when needed.  These teachers also send a summary of what he worked on, keeping me updated on his progress and armed with some good nuggets of information that I can use in conversation with him about the class . Throughout the year, MVCode offers many Friday night drop-in game design and robotics sessions, and they even arrange field trips for students to tour prominent tech companies in the Bay Area.

If you ask my son what he thinks about coding class he will tell you it’s his favorite after-school activity, hands down.  He looks forward to going every week and is happy to open the computer at home and continue lessons on his own between classes. He enjoys building games from scratch, seeing his code “come to life” and showing my husband and I what he creates.

I’ve witnessed a newfound confidence in his problem solving ability and see how what he learns translates into a better understanding of his math and science curriculum at school.  

mvcode san franciscoMVCode has been great socially as well.  He has met wonderful peers during his time at the club and has collaborated with many of them on new projects and challenges.  He looks up to his teachers and hopes to someday be teaching younger kids like himself to code.  

Needless to say, I couldn’t be happier with our experience with MVCode.  After trying out many after-school activities with mixed results, I think this one will stick.  My other children don’t even mind coming along for the ride to take him there and pick him up.  They are intrigued by the magic happening inside and my middle child is already asking me when he can start coding, too.

coding class in san francisco for kids

Danielle lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children. Originally from New York, followed by a long stint in Boston, she moved to San Francisco over 10 years ago and has called the city home ever since. Danielle loves exploring SF with her kids by car, Muni or by her most favorite form of transportation, on foot. She and her family have “urban hiked” every corner of the city and have broken some of their own daily mileage records in the process (23 miles in one day is their record). While not logging steps around town, Danielle enjoys her role as the Bay Area Business Development Director for The Suburban Jungle, a real estate advisory firm that helps urban families navigate the suburbs when they are ready to leave the city.  


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