I had a computer programming class in High School, taught by a woman who was in the industry and decided to teach computers. It was great! yes our first program was "Hello World" like everyone elses. But it opened my eyes to an industry that I had not thought of. I started college my freshman year as a Computer Engineering Major and did not change it. I knew this is what I wanted to do.
I do not know if I would have chose that major if it was not for the introduction of programming in High School. Really do not know, most likely mathematics.
But yes, introducing our children to computers and programming at an early age is so important. Especially in the classroom.
There are fantastic extra curricular activities for kids to introduce them to the engineering field and into programming - such as FIRST. FIRST is a great program, actually put on by the person who owns my company (Dean Kamen). Kids work with engineers to accomplish a task. It incorporates all aspects of engineering, and they get to compete. I know Nick and my kids will be doing this program and we will work with them! Actually a bit excited to do that with them one day. The lego league (ages 6-9 grades K-3) is only 3.5 years away for Evie! Wow...
And our kids, having two computer engineering parents, will learn to program. I know Nick is so excited to get robot kits and build one with Evie and his son. We are geeks, and will do all those kind of things with kids.
But back to the point of this post, schools do not introduce programming to kids at all. It is up to the child to learn on their own or for the parent to introduce it to their kids.
Really thinking about this, I could see this being a career change at some point for me. Teaching programming to kids. I love what I do and do not want to leave. I love developing medical products. I love R&D! I love working with machines and making them do things.