Two-year-olds should learn to code, says computing pioneer

Children as young as two should be introduced to the basics of coding, according to one of Britain’s most eminent computing pioneers.

Dame Stephanie Shirley, whose company was one of the first to sell software in the 1960s, said that engaging very young children – in particular girls – could ignite a passion for puzzles and problem-solving long before the “male geek” stereotype took hold.

“I don’t think you can start too early,” she said, adding that evidence suggested that the best time to introduce children to simple coding activities was between the ages of two and seven years. “Most successful later coders start between five and six,” she added. “In a sense, those years are the best for learning anything … and means that programming [hasn’t] become set in your mind as geeky or nerdy.”

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