Kick-and-code brings skills to kids

Soc­cer/com­puter cross­over stim­u­lates minds

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ASANDA SOKANYILE

SOC­CER and com­puter skills may seem worlds apart, but this week both, along with lessons in cod­ing, were used to stim­u­late young minds in Cape Town.

A group of 85 chil­dren aged 8 to 15 spent four days at a kickand-cod­ing camp, held at the Ger­man In­ter­na­tional School in Cape Town.

Another 150 chil­dren from Gugulethu and Ma­nen­berg will join in the fun to­day, as the coaches move to the safe hub at Nyanga Junc­tion to teach the art of cod­ing.

The or­gan­is­ers said the “kick” part of the event of­fered young peo­ple the chance to have fun and en­joy a game of soc­cer.

They re­ceive qual­ity train­ing in soc­cer skills from qual­i­fied coaches.

For the “code” part, they are trained in MIT’s scratch cod­ing, to in­tro­duce them to the lan­guage and logic of com­puter cod­ing.

“Scratch is a free pro­gram­ming lan­guage and on­line com­mu­nity where you can cre­ate your own in­ter­ac­tive sto­ries, games, and an­i­ma­tions,” 10-year-old Arun Mueller, a Grade 4 pupil from Green Point, demon­strated to Week­end Ar­gus.

He demon­strated how to cre­ate an app to com­mand move­ment on a com­puer screen.

He took his app home at the end of the camp.

Elke Si­mon-Keller, of Africa SAP In­no­va­tion Lead, said the this week’s school camp was part of the Africa code week pro­gramme, due to kick off of­fi­cially on Oc­to­ber 15.

That pro­gramme tar­gets 150 000 chil­dren and youth across 30 coun­tries.

“The aim of this camp is to cre­ate ac­tive young bod­ies and minds.

“That is why we com­bined soc­cer with ICT.

“We want kids to know how to code be­cause there is a great need for peo­ple to know how to do pro­gram­ming,” she said.

Moritz Bottcher, project co-or­di­na­tor for the Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt sports club in Ger­many, said soc­cer was a ma­jor draw­card for the chil­dren.

“We of­fer them skills train­ing, goal train­ing as well as co-or­di­na­tion train­ing. But we un­der­stand that soc­cer on its own won’t make chil­dren sus­tain­able, so that is where SAP comes in,” he added.

To­day’s fes­ti­val in Nyanga Junc­tion is part of their “out­reach pro­gramme for less priv­i­leged chil­dren”, said Si­mon-Keller, ad­ding the aim was “the in­te­gra­tion of cul­tures, as peo­ple from vary­ing back­grounds will be in­volved in teach­ing one another dif­fer­ent skills”.

“We have ex­pe­ri­enced coaches who are re­tired football play­ers to as­sist in the soc­cer, while we also have the coaches from Gugulethu and Man­nen­berg who will be part of to­day’s event,” she said.

By the end of to­day, more Cape Town kids will be well equipped with cod­ing as well as sport­ing skills.


For­mer Ger­man in­ter­na­tional football player Man­fred Binz dur­ing the Kick and Code Camp at the Ger­man in­ter­na­tional School in Cape Town.

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