Should 3-Year-Olds Learn Computer Programming?

Scratch Jr hopes to teach preschoolers enough coding that they can design their own video games.

Can 3-year-olds learn enough computer programming to be able to build their own games or animate a story? That's the theory behind Scratch Jr, an MIT project set to launch this summer that wants to teach preschoolers creativity, design thinking, and problem-solving through coding.

The project is an extension of Scratch, a downloadable programming tool that's been available since 1998. Through Scratch, 8- to 13-year-old students from around the world have created and shared more than 2.3 million "interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art" projects. A grant from the National Foundation of Science will allow Scratch Jr to bring those learning benefits to younger students.

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