In many districts, students still get their first introduction to computer science and coding in middle school or high school. That timing, argues John Pearce, is all wrong.

“If you start computer science in K-5, students don’t have set ideas about what they are or aren’t good at,” explains Pearce, director of Family Code Night and MV GATE, a Mill Valley, California, nonprofit that provides educational programs and field trips that engage students in coding, engineering and math.

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And, at this age, “they are wonderfully able to grasp universal concepts in computer science.”

Take the universal coding concept of a “conditional,” for instance. It sounds technical, but as Pearce points out, kids know what a conditional is. If I’m hungry, I eat. If it’s raining, I take an umbrella.

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