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Early Learning Company BEGiN Acquires Learn-to-Code App

The consolidation of two early learning programs, the personalized Homer program for very young children with the coding-focused codeSpark for slightly older kids, aims to prepare a new generation for STEM careers.

Two kids in a classroom working together on a tablet and keyboard.
flickr/Stephen Chin
The educational technology company BEGiN, whose flagship program Homer teaches basic reading, math, social-emotional and critical-thinking skills to children under 6, is set to add coding to its repertoire.

BEGiN this week announced the acquisition of codeSpark Academy, the nation’s No. 1 learn-to-code app for kids, which will allow the company to incorporate coding into the Homer program and expand its audience from ages 0-6 to ages 0-10. BEGiN’s news release pointed out that the acquisition comes after months of remote learning and school disruption, when many families are looking for at-home tools to supplement the traditional classroom experience.

According to the news release, the Homer program has experienced 70 percent compounded annual growth since its founding in 2013 and has been honored by a Mom’s Choice Award, Parents’ Choice Award and Common Sense Media, among others. The program’s two personalized learning apps, Learn & Grow and Learn & Play, are aimed at kids ages 2-8 and kids ages 0-3, respectively. BEGiN acquired Homer in January 2017.

According to its website, the Pasadena-based codeSpark uses a word-free interface with games and puzzles to teach critical thinking, creativity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts. The news release said it has over 30 million users and a presence in more than a third of U.S. school districts.

BEGiN CEO and co-founder Neal Shenoy said in a public statement that the acquisition will allow the company to flesh out its sequential, skill-building digital tools to give kids the best possible head start on the 21st century.

“We do this by teaching the right skill, at the right time, in the right medium,” he said. “We know coding is most effectively taught through a digital program, and in codeSpark we have a best-in-class, award-winning product which we’re thrilled to bring into the Homer family.”

Grant Hosford, co-founder and CEO of codeSpark, said the two programs, Homer and codeSpark, are a natural fit.

“Increasingly, our world is run by code, so it’s more important than ever that kids master 21st century skills,” Hosford said in a public statement. “The foundational milestones of the Homer program are the perfect preparation for successfully mastering computational thinking skills with codeSpark Academy.”