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What your child learns in Key Stage 1 computing

Computing in KS1
Computing is an essential skill for all children to learn, and an important part of the curriculum. Here’s what your child will be taught in Years 1 and 2.

Chances are your child already knows their way around your iPad and can navigate the internet like a pro, but computing lessons at school are more than just a bit of fun.

The core of computing is computer science, where children are taught the principles of information and computation and how digital systems work. They begin to learn the skill of programming, creating programs, systems and a range of content. Computing also links in with maths, science and design technology, and can be integrated into almost every subject your child studies at school.

Computing in Key Stage 1

In the new curriculum computing is seen to be a foundational subject, vital in helping children understand the digital world around them. Computational thinking is more about teaching kids problem-solving than coding languages, and the intellectual skills they'll gain will be useful for whatever they do in life.

In Years 1 and 2, your child will be taught to:

  • Understand what algorithms are (a set of step-by-step instructions for carrying out a function), how they are used as programs on digital devices, and that programs work by following these precise instructions.
  • Create and debug (find and remove errors from) simple computer programs.
  • Use logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.
  • Use technology to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content.
  • Recognise common uses of information technology in the wider world.
  • Use technology safely and respectfully, keeping their personal information private.
  • Know where to go for help and support if they’re worried about anything they see on the internet or other online technologies.

Computing in the classroom

In computing lessons in KS1, your child might tackle projects like these:

  • Write a set of step-by-step instructions for sharing sweets fairly among friends or build a maze out of boxes and help a blindfolded friend navigate through it by giving them precise instructions, helping them gain an understanding of algorithms
  • Program a programmable toy 
  • Use a program such as Paint to create a picture.
  • Use a spreadsheet program to record and store the results of a science experiment.
  • Learn about bar codes and how they store information.
  • Use search engines to collect information for a project with a subject like the Great Fire of London.
  • Design a poster about online safety.

Computing lessons in school won't all be done at a computer, as learning about the principles of computer science can be done in a hands-on, screen-off way, too.

Want to know more about how your child will learn about computer coding in KS1? Read our article to find out.

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