Can learning to code help a child excel in school?

Learn to code has many benefits. In fact, we would contend that an understanding of coding is now a mandatory skill given how digital our society has become.

However, one question that is always on parent's minds - does learning to code help in my child's school work?

teacher teaching math
Coding can help in math

Learning to code promotes structured thought processes and spatial abilities

While solving more complex primary school math questions, the main difficulty is in breaking down the problem into smaller parts. Similarly, the problems presented in coding are of the exact same nature. These require students to apply fundamental coding logic, which are akin to the basic math operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

This ability to look at a problem from different angles and perspectives is a crucial problem solving ability. Few would dispute the important of such abilities, but the question is, how should we go about developing these abilities in children? Unlike traditional 'subjects' that are based on information that can be taught using books, developing problem solving skills are much trickier and requires children to learn from experience.

This is where learning to code can help. Learning to code requires children to think about problems from numerous perspectives and break them down into smaller tasks in order to arrive at a robust solution. This additional practice and exposure to problem solving through learning to code promotes structured thought processes.

Established connection is between spatial transformation and mathematical ability in research literature

  • Gunderson et al., 2012 (5 year old): "Spatial skill can improve children's development of numerical knowledge by helping them to acquire a linear spatial representation of numbers"

  • Kyttälä et al., 2003 (6 year old): "Results indicate that early numeracy skills, more specifically counting skills, are related to visuo-spatial abilities. Our present results indicate that this relationship does not appear to result from formal schooling"

  • Battista,1990 (12 year old): "Two types of thoughts: spatial inductive thought and verbal-logical deductive thought are both believed to be important to mathematical problem solving"

  • Hegarty and Kozhevnikov, 1999 (12 year old): "Use of schematic spatial representations was associated with success in mathematical problem solving. Use of schematic representations was also significantly correlated with spatial ability."

  • Reuhkala, 2001 (15.5 year old): "The ability to retain gradually increasing square patterns (static VSWM capacity), the ability to retain movement sequences (dynamic VSWM capacity) and the ability to mentally rotate abstract figures were related to mathematical skills."

  • Geary et al., 2000 (19 year old): "Individual differences in arithmetical reasoning were related to individual differences in IQ, spatial abilities, and computational fluency."

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