Last month Kat Leadbetter, our International Programme Coordinator, travelled to France to visit a Code Club in Romilly-sur-Seine.
J’arrive en France
It was a beautiful, sunny day when I stepped off the train in Romilly-sur-Seine, a small town about an hour outside Paris. Waiting for me was Fabien Schuft, our Code Club local partner for France.
Over the past years, Fabien has been busy growing the number of Code Clubs in France and supporting the French community of teachers and volunteers. At the end of 2016, there were 26 French Code Clubs; now, there are 150 from the north to the south, reaching about 2250 children a week! Plus, right now we offer 43 translated Code Club projects for kids to use in their clubs.
Our destination for the day was the Code Club at Collège Paul Langevin, one of the first clubs to start in France, more than 3 years ago! Running in the newly renovated school building over lunchtime, the club hosts a mix of children aged 11 to 13 — some coding veterans and others very recent beginners.
Keeping things flexible
Club leader Isabelle told me that she believes it is very important to differentiate club time from the normal school day: “Kids are here for fun,” she told me. “We’re in school, but it’s not a lesson; we practise individual pedagogy, and the children can follow their own paths. It’s very flexible!”
In the session, this approach showed itself in how club members practised coding: one pupil was putting a Space Invaders twist on his Clone wars project, while another was creating a game featuring a hilariously abstract puppy-monster; some children chose to work in pairs on their projects, and others chose to code alone.
Walking around the room, what struck me the most was the number of children who said what they loved most about their Code Club was ‘créer’ — to create. They really valued being allowed the flexibility to make both the club and the projects their own, and having a space to use their creativity to make something completely new.
Don’t be afraid!
Isabelle believes that fear of computers should not stop from you getting involved with Code Club: “People who are leading clubs don’t have to be computer scientists, or coders, or experts. They should keep trying things: never stop learning by doing!” Very wise words.
You can find out more about Code Club in France at www.codeclub.fr, and if you can help us translate more projects into French, find out about volunteering as a translator for us at www.raspberrypi.org/translate.