Code Club: A fun way for teens to learn real-world programming skills

What are Code Clubs, and what is Fiero Code?

Code Clubs have been a thing in libraries (Mesa Public Library specifically) since 2013. From there, word spread quickly, and libraries across the country caught on to this super-engaging and skill-building experience – ultimately reaching tens of thousands of kids, thousands of librarians and educators, and hundreds of libraries and schools. 

Fiero Code (formerly called Prenda) is an educational platform where tweens work at their own pace on coding projects that interest them. They get to choose what they want to learn. “Fiero” is an Italian word meaning something akin to “the amazing feeling you get when you achieve something.” This new name captures what kids feel when they unlock how to do something awesome in code. And that feeling of accomplishment, excitement, and pride is what drives the Fiero Code Team, as well as countless library staff who get to witness Code Club magic weekly.

Is your child tinkering with web design? With Fiero Code, they can ramp up with a module in HTML, followed by CSS and JavaScript. Maybe they prefer to make games; if so, they can get warmed up with Code Blocks (Scratch) and then advance to JavaScript Games. After accumulating a variety of new skills, they’ll decide they’re ready to complete a Mission (project) and even compete with other coders during quarterly contests! 

This is the fun way to learn real-world programming skills -- and if they have the opportunity to join a Code Club, they gain access to a community of other learners who are happy to help when they get stuck.

About Library Code Clubs

Library Code Clubs morphed into virtual programs during the pandemic, and ever since have been a great way for tweens to get (and stay) connected to a community of coders (aka friends). They enjoy building and testing out different projects in a shared (virtual) space. They also love receiving input on and making fun games for each other.

Coders get support, but not actual instruction, from a facilitator/mentor/cheerleader/librarian at the Virtual Code Club hosted at W. Anne Gibson-Esmond Station Library, serving tweens in the Vail Unified School District. In this way, coders are engaged in learning that is fully connected, meaning it combines practical skills with their personal interests and with their social relationships. Most importantly, the hands-on nature of Code Club results in discoveries that are 100% their own, making that “fiero” even more meaningful and inspiring. 

In the case of the W. Anne Gibson-Esmond Station Library, their primary partners in this endeavor are the folks at Fiero Code and the local Esmond Station K-8 School. The parents and kids have also been spreading the word about Code Club and there has been at least one new enrollment per week in the Spring Virtual Code Club.

Here is what the kids (and parents) have to say:

"[I’m a member of Code Club] because I want to learn how to code efficiently and I want to learn how to code more games.” –George

“Participating in the library’s Code Club has been a fun educational experience. As a parent, I have enjoyed watching George grow in his knowledge of coding. It’s his favorite subject now.”   

“Lourdes says she loves connecting with other coders like herself and learning from them.”

“Coding is a newfound interest and this keeps [Insee] interested and committed to Code Club :)”