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Ontario teen Arya Peruma has helped more than 2,000 kids – some as young as seven – understand the basics of coding through free online lessons and webinars offered by Coding for Young Minds Community Organization, a non-profit she founded earlier this year.

Ms. Peruma decided to launch the organization after learning that Ontario schools were introducing simple computer programming languages for kids for the first time in the 2020-21 school year, and in some cases not until high school.

She believed children should start learning basic programming language skills at a younger age if they were to benefit fully from the essential skills they would need to master careers in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

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“The integration of coding classes in the new Ontario math curriculum is an encouraging start, but they are actually very basic,” says Ms. Peruma. “In addition, the chaos of COVID and need for teachers to be specially trained in computer programming languages are likely a great challenge this school year.”

For elementary- and middle-school children, the online coding courses develop cognitive skills, critical thinking, logical thinking and problem-solving skills. The webinars teach true computer programming languages like Java and Python and have the practical application of kids being able to design an app.

“Grade 11 is way too late for kids to start learning computer science and programming languages,” adds Ms. Peruma. “They will enter university well behind kids who started to code earlier and will begin their post-secondary education at a great disadvantage.”

Advertising feature produced Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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