Bayside Elementary School Makes Learning to Code Fun

There's a computer science coding cafe that's becomming a huge hit in a Bayside elementary school. As NY1’s Thabie Sibanda reports, the goal is to make technology fun.

The kids from PS 31Q are obsessed with the coding robots. It's all part of the Coding Café at the school.

"You get to tell them commands such as go over there or turn around," said Riley Bhunut.

"You can have them drive around in circles, you can have them make dinosaur sounds, goats sounds," said Victoria Gipp.

And the kids get to do all of this with a program on their iPads.

"We built our coding cafe to give the students the opportunity to code and to do something during lunch time, recess rather than watch a movie and it's exciting for them," said Terri Graybow, principal.

The café is up and running as part of a week of coding events. Students can choose how they want to spend their recess or lunch time: eating, playing, or learning how to code. Teachers say it’s such a hit, some students find it hard to leave when their time is up.

"It's a testament of how much the kids are really enjoying learning a programming language," said Joanne Westhall, technology teacher.

"We were fortunate this year to be part of what's called an SEP junior grant. As part of that grant…30 laptops, 30 iPads and all of the robots were given to the school," said Graybow.

The principal says their school is the only elementary school in the district to receive the SEP junior grant. Teachers say it’s more important than ever for kids to learn technology related skills.

"Even if they don't want to be programmers when they grow up, they're going to have to work in a field or industry that is somehow touched by technology and programming," said Westhall.

Westhall says these kids are the innovators who are going to be coming up with the next best thing.

"You have to think, how are they going to get around the corner," said Bhunut. "It's a really fun thinking game."

"Some kids don't like coding but when they see Dot and Dash they go like, 'Oh it's robots. I get to do this.' But they don't realize that they're coding at the same time," said Gipp.

The school’s principal hopes to keep the coding café going beyond this week. 

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