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Code Ninjas

Teaching kids to create more than they consume

 

“Coding is today’s language of creativity. All children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science.” – Maria Klawe, computer scientist and advocate for women in STEM fields.

Husband and wife team Jessica and Anthony Massey recently celebrated the grand opening of an exciting new addition to the Stafford/Fredericksburg area—Code Ninjas, which opened its doors on October 1. The Massey’s and their three children were once patrons at another Code Ninjas location, and that positive experience inspired them to share the program locally by becoming franchise owners.

Code Ninjas offers two base programs that are broken into age groups:

Juniors is for ages 5-8, and reading is not required. Children learn coding fundamentals and vocabulary alongside other kids their age in a fun, engaging atmosphere.

Create is for ages 8-14 and is set up much like a dojo, using a similar system to karate belt levels, only with wristbands, instead. Kids start at a white belt level learning JavaScript. They progress through the colored tiers learning LUA and C# until they eventually earn their black belt. By this point, they will be able to create their own apps and video games from scratch.

What is coding and why is it important?

“Coding is the process of using a programming language to get a computer to complete the task you are wanting it to do,” says Massey. It’s also a skill the late co-founder and CEO of Apple said everyone should acquire. 

“Everyone should know how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think!” – Steve Jobs. 

According to the BLS, coding jobs are in high demand, with an expected growth rate of 11-22% in various computer and information technology fields over a 10-year period (2019-2029). That’s exponentially higher than the average 4% projected growth rate for all other career paths.

Massey explains why this field is experiencing such rapid growth:

“Everything around you has some type of programming or code involved in its standard function,” she says. “Things like washing machines, to stoves, AC controls, to  your car.”

Code Ninja’s focus is coding, but it doesn’t stop there. Kids can explore other aspects of STEM education, such as virtual reality, 3D printing, drones, and robotics.

“We give them a space to be creative, express their passion for developing their own games,” says Massey. “We give them a space to socialize and play with other kids their age with their same interests.”

Entertainment and education are huge benefits but perhaps most appealing are how these programs offer screen-time of which both kids and parents can finally approve!

“We teach them through video game creation and hands-on activities, in a fun, and safe environment,” says Massey. 

In addition to the base programs, Code Ninjas offers an after-school program, summer and year-round camp opportunities, as well as Parents’ Nights Out.

For more information about Code Ninjas, visit codeninjas.com/va-stafford, or visit their Stafford location at 373 Garrisonville Rd., Suite 101.

Rhiannon Ellis
Rhiannon Ellis
Rhiannon Ellis is a freelance writer and author, a fitness instructor, and owner of Impact Fitness. She resides with her two children in her native Williamsburg and on their mini-farm in Charles City.

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