At Sawyer we have the privilege of working with hundreds of inspiring educators around the country. Whether they teach virtual classes or in-person  activities, the curriculums always foster enriching atmospheres for children of all ages to discover their love of learning. We got the opportunity to chat with Penguin Coding School, which teaches online and in-person coding and STEM classes in the Boston and New York areas. To see some of our other educators in those areas, check out our list of kids activities in Boston and kids activities in NYC.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! I’d love to hear a bit more about you and why you started your business?

After working in the tech industry for 15 years, I wanted to create something on my own. I was teaching myself coding while developing an app, and I was so excited about how fun it was to learn coding myself that my enthusiasm spilled over into teaching coding to my own kids. Next, I started teaching kids in the neighborhood once a week in a vacant Sunday School classroom. The rest is history.

What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching children?

Knowing that the seeds of curiosity we plant in them today will blossom into a flower that will inspire yet another generation.

Can you describe an inspiring moment you’ve had as an educator?

A student who started learning coding with us 5 years ago was recently admitted to MIT and planning to major in computer science. She told us my class helped jump start her interest in the subject.

Photo of coding classes for kids

What’s one time a child surprised you and made your day?

A student created a YouTube video of a game he made in our class and then solicited users to try it out. He got hundreds of encouraging comments.

On a similar note, what’s the funniest thing a child has done in your class?

A student created an original video game with pictures of her mom as the superhero and a picture of her brother as the villain and then surprised her family at the end of semester show-and-tell.  

Your classes revolve around STEM learning, why is it important for children to learn in this category?

So much of our world today is influenced by STEM - not just in the traditional science & engineering fields, but the arts and humanities as well. Tech algorithms even influence how our civic society functions (e.g. social media algorithms' influence on our democracy) - so it's vital that every child knows the basics of STEM and knows how to live with it.

Photo of kids coding classes

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I love teaching absolute beginners because we're able to see the joy in the kids' eyes when they first discover how powerful it is to be able to create things with code.

How do you think children should gain an appreciation for STEM when they’re not in school or your program?

There is so much free content out there for those who know how to get it. The key is for an adult or teacher to show them how to take advantage of all free content that is out there to continually educate themselves.

What's one trick you learned from another educator that you still practice?

Instead of asking if kids have any questions (because many are too shy to admit it in class), offer up questions that they may have and let kids vote on which ones they want answered.

Photo of kids STEM class

Thank you again for taking the time to speak with us! We can't wait for more families to discover your classes. We hear MIT calling!

If you are looking for coding and STEM classes for kids, check out what Penguin Coding School is offering online and in-person. There are so many benefits of coding classes, so why wait?