5-year-old Ulla Schulman demonstrated her coding skills to the president, with her father Johan Schulman looking on. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
“This is exciting,” President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö commented when learning the basics of coding in Helsinki City Library 10 on Tuesday 19 January. The President was not the only keen coder: he was attending Code School for children aged 4 to 9, who got to try their hand at coding together with their guardians.
In addition to learning to code, the President took a tour of the place, getting to know the other participants. Teaching is based on the open-source Turtle Roy application. Ulla Schulman, 5, from Helsinki, showed the President how her commands moved Roy the Turtle. “If I get into trouble here, I am sure Ulla will help me,” said an impressed President Niinistö.
According to the President, coding skills are increasingly necessary, as the future will be even more digital. “The Code School equips children with the basic civic skills that these future adults are sure to need, perhaps even in their everyday lives.”
The objective of the Code School is to teach children the basics of coding and help them to understand the world. Although the idea is not to make everyone a coder, basic skills will help them to shift from passive to active use of various systems.
The first public Code School was held in January 2014. The idea behind the Code School came from its current Headmaster, Juha Paananen. He began by giving IT lessons to his 4-year-old daughter. Soon, his colleagues were also bringing their children for lessons.
Code School events have been organised across Finland by IT companies, libraries and organisations. Each event takes around two hours. The Code School has already spread to Germany (Code Schule) and the concept will soon be introduced in Japan.
‘Now you must turn the turtle’s nose downwards,’ instructs Markus Lindqvist (left) and the Headmaster of the Code School Juha Paananen, who created the idea behind the school. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Iines Satomäki, 6, and the President have similar name tags. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Onni Everi, 5, came to the Code School from Kirkkonummi with his grandmother, Sari Maaskola. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Enni Raivio, 4, from Järvenpää came to learn coding, accompanied by his father Tommi Raivio. Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Copyright © Office of the President of the Republic of Finland