West Sound CoderDojo Finds New Home at WWU Center at Olympic College, Poulsbo; First Free Class begins July 11

West Sound CoderDojo (WSCD), which offers free programming classes for kids age 8-18, will host its future classes at the Western Washington University Center in Olympic College, Poulsbo, thanks to a new partnership between the two institutions.   

The CoderDojo movement is a global movement of free, volunteer-led, community based programming clubs for young people. Students learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment. In addition to learning to code attendees meet like-minded people and are exposed to the possibilities of technology. There is a focus on community, peer learning, youth mentoring and self-led learning, with an emphasis on showing how coding is a force for change in the world.

Experience levels range from beginner to advanced and participation is always free.

WSCD, launched this past March, is the newest of 450 chapters now operating in 47 countries.  West Sound Technology Association (WSTA) hosted the initiative in this region to provide children (and parents) from Bainbridge to Kingston to Bremerton - and all points in between - an opportunity to learn skills vital for the 21st century economy. It has held six classes since early May at Bainbridge Public Library and Poulsbo City Hall while seeking a more permanent location, and Charles Keating, WSTA president, believes understanding programming is vital even if students don’t they don’t plan to work in the information technology field.

“It’s tough to name any future jobs that won’t require coding, or the problem-solving and critical thinking skills intrinsic to programming,” Keating said.  “The fact that kids can learn this while having fun and playing or building games is an added plus.”

In addition to leading the CoderDojo effort, WSTA plays an important role in leading and engaging community efforts to cultivate a technologically savvy, adaptable workforce.

Western on the Peninsulas is committed to technological innovation and STE(A)M education.  Candice Merrill, Director of Western on the Peninsulas, sees this partnership with WSTA as a way to both support the community and engage university students of the future.  “If you can get kids hooked on science and math early by providing fun ways for them to learn, they are more likely to develop a curiosity and passion for learning that will carry them through high school, into college and, eventually into careers.  Opportunities materialize for kids who love learning.”

Parents or guardians must register and attend the two-hour class with their child. Children are expected to bring their own laptops, though tablets may be introduced later. West Sound Coder Dojo’s first class on the WWU Center at OC Poulsbo will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 11.  Tickets are free but registration is required. To find out more, please visit www.westsoundcoderdojo.com.