Marshalltown promotes kids' coding

The kids are focusing on STEM at all grade levels as part of revised curriculum.

MARSHALLTOWN  - The curriculum for the Marshalltown School District has changed quite a bit over the past few years. There's a new emphasis on math and science than was there before, and these kids are preparing for jobs that don't even exist yet.

Preschool was simpler when Joanna Ruddick started teaching eight years ago.

"Letters, shapes, colors, numbers, learn how to be a good friend and then you were good to go," said Ruddick.

But all that's changed around Marshalltown.

From day one, these kids are coding.

"To be honest, it isn't a hard sell for our kids, because they are digital natives, they enjoy technology, they've never known a world without technology," said Dr. Lisa Stevenson, the director of curriculum for the Marshalltown School District. 

"I might step in and do a little bit of pre-teaching, but then I back off and then let some of the other kids show them how to do it," said Ruddick.

"So, we're trying to get some of those career skills they need, like collaboration and communication in the process," said Stevenson.

"I like B-Bot and the buttons you get to push," said Piper Arevalo, a preschooler.

"Right and left, and another left, and there's a turn on button, and there's a fast button too," said Emanuel Garcia, another preschooler.

The kids are learning why things work or don't work, and even how to reset their projects.

"You always have to push the green button, the 'X' button," said Arevalo. 

"The sky's the limit, the cloud's the limit," said Stevenson. "We don't know where kids can go. So, it's our job to give them as broad an experience as we can while they're here."

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