“Teach kids coding and logic and problem-solving in a fun environment”
Naperville IL: You already know that your kids understand computers better than you, but did you know they can write computer code too?
Say the words “video game” and kids are bound to stop and listen. At Code Ninjas, they are coding and building their own games.
Code Ninjas in Naperville celebrated its Grand Opening at 1305 S Naper Blvd. in Naperville, IL. on Saturday, June 1, 2019. It was packed with kids from ages 7 to 14. New faces and current enrolled families joined to celebrate this location’s official opening. It is one of over 300 locations across the country.
The mission of Code Ninjas is to teach kids coding and logic and problem-solving in a fun environment. Kids who sign up for membership are ninjas. The coaches are sensei’s. And the classroom is their dojo.
As ninjas progress, they earn belts, just like they do in martial arts. The program is fun and motivating for kids with little wins along the way. When they advance to the next belt there is a “Belt-Up” celebration! By the time kids are a black belt (the last belt), perhaps four years down the road, they have all the knowledge needed to publish their own app.
Two sisters I met that are enrolled were excited to share that by the end of the first day in the dojo they were able to complete a multitude of games.
“Honestly, I wish I had this,” says a parent. “It’s intimidating looking at all the lines of code.”
Code Ninjas has other fun and engaging methods to teach kids about all different kinds of coding. The day I was there, a sensei was demonstrating how some coding was used to fly a drone around the room, to the delight of kids. Code Ninjas offers camps during school breaks where kids engage in topics different from curriculum.
The Naperville location is owned and operated by Kalyan Anandula and Preethi Kundoor. With a background in technology and application development, they were looking for STEM related activities for their own children and found that Code Ninjas offered the perfect environment for learning in a fun environment with other students who have the same interest.
“I always felt that if I had a better understanding of coding or STEM, it would have helped me in my corporate career, even as a business professional,” Kalyan says.
Code Ninjas is essentially an after-school STEM program. Ninjas can drop in from 4 to 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. on weekends. They also can join summer camps.
“We don’t want kids to come here feeling like this is a class,” Kalyan says. “They’re here to build video games and have fun. We disguise the curriculum.” Code Ninjas accomplishes this with a consistent game-based curriculum developed within nine belts. Membership includes a portal for parents where you can see what games your child is building and track their progress — or you can play the game they built yourselves.
A future career in coding could happen for any child who walks through the doors of a Code Ninjas location. Code Ninjas, though, is not just for kids who want to pursue STEM careers, Preethi emphasizes.
“Our mission is to expose kids to STEM and coding, so those two words aren’t intimidating anymore,” she says. “We hope that kids can make informed decisions when they choose their majors in college. The logic and problem-solving skills gained from our curriculum are helpful for various career paths.”
I spoke with the Center Director and local educator Lori Gehrke. She is excited to see so many children come into the center who are interested in gaining exposure to coding at such as young age. “We are providing children with skills that will help them gain access to jobs that currently do not exist, but with a foundation in coding and the critical thinking skills, they will be prepared for anything that comes their way in the future.”
Coding is important to help kids learn the critical skills that they need for their success. Code Ninjas Naperville provides the atmosphere of fun and learning with parents seeing results. For more information about the Code Ninjas Naperville location, please visit codeninjas.com/locations/il-
naperville or call 630-300-3636 to schedule a center tour