Today’s kids are getting ahead by learning how to code apps
New York Post
By Anna Davies
October 23, 2016
It’s a head-startup program!
Neurotic New York parents are insisting that tots as young as 2 learn the basics of coding — the instructions used to create Web sites, software and apps. They’re snapping up tech-teaching toys and paying hundreds of dollars for computer-programming classes for the pre-K set.
“I want to give my daughters every possible advantage,” says Illona Bobritsky, 39, a Brighton Beach mom who recently purchased a Fisher-Price Code-a-Pillar for her two girls, ages 4 and 6. Children rearrange the segments of the caterpillar-shaped toy, which was released in June and retails for $39.99, to send it moving in different directions and cause it to light up and loudly beep and buzz. It’s being heralded as one of the It gifts for Christmas and is ranked No. 2 on the Toys ‘R’ Us Holiday Hot list.
“I bought the toy as soon as I saw a commercial for it,” says
Nicole Heinen, 25, a Jersey City, NJ, mom who recently purchased the gizmo and several other similar toys for her 4-year-old son. “It’s all about STEM-based skills. That’s where the jobs are. It’s never too early to start.”
Other parents are signing up their tiny tots for programming classes or hiring private tutors.
Flavia Naslausky, the co-owner of Zaniac academic-enrichment centers in Connecticut and on the Upper East Side, has noticed an explosion of 4-year-olds enrolling in programming classes, which cost between $299 and $599 for six classes. “It’s fun [for them],” she says. “They’re already comfortable with using an iPad, so with this, it’s a natural progression.”
“Private-school admissions are cutthroat, and to be honest, 3- and 4-year-olds don’t have a ton that makes them stand out from other 3- and 4-year-olds,” says Kat Cohen, Ph.D., founder and CEO of IvyWise, an admissions-counseling service [in Manhattan.] “Knowing the fundamentals of coding as a 3-year-old could give your kid an extra boost.”
Bobritsky, who works in medical administration, feels not knowing enough about computers has hurt her career and doesn’t want the same for her girls.
“I would talk with programmers all the time and have no idea what they were saying,” she says. “So if putting parts of a caterpillar together will help my daughters get ahead, then I’m all for it.”
But one thing she’s not for is the toy’s loud noises, something reviewers have also complained about. If only there were a volume switch, or an option for her daughters to program it to shut up.
“The music,” she says, “is driving me insane.”