Think Local  

Code Ninjas Kelowna puts the fun in computer programming for children

Kids coding in Kelowna

It’s a world where kids write the code.

These coders are not sitting in a dark, quiet room with their eyes glued to a computer. They are in a bright, cheerful dojo, where they create, collaborate and learn all about computer technology.

Code Ninjas Kelowna opened on Enterprise Way in January for kids between the ages of five and 14 who are interested in coding, STEM, video games, and game development. Once or twice a week, children learn everything from simple block coding to more complex languages like JavaScript, C# and everything in between. Code Ninjas offers two programs: CREATE, designed for children aged seven to 14, and JR, which is for kids aged five to seven.

“The goal is to have as much fun as possible,” Code Ninjas Kelowna proprietor Kirsten Kurjata says. “To me, Code Ninjas is a team; we create a team environment with something that would not necessarily be looked at as a team activity.

“We’re teaching coding, STEM and problem-solving skills. But we really want kids to have hands-on experiences, fun with learning and also feel like they’re part of what I call my ninja family. Everyone who is a Code Ninja is part of our ninja family.

“Every child has a superpower; at Code Ninjas we’re giving kids the opportunity to discover a new one in coding. We want our ninjas to be proud of what they’ve made and be excited to keep developing these skills while collaborating with the other kids.”

The setup at Code Ninjas Kelowna is simple. It works under a monthly membership format, where kids participate once or twice a week. Once enrolled, parents gain access to the parent web portal. Here they can see their child’s published games and use the scheduler to choose the days and times their child attends. Parents have the flexibility to create their own schedule each week so the kids never miss a session due to a conflict.

Another cool part about Code Ninjas is parents don’t have to rely on their kids to tell them how their coding day went. That’s because the parents can go into the portal to see and play the game their children created.

“If their kiddo publishes a game to the proprietary platform, the parents can open it up at home and the family can have fun playing the game.” Kurjata says. “Parents can play the game and ask questions about the code. The ninjas are always so proud to share what they know, and parents can really understand what their kiddo is doing.”

Code Ninja program hours are Monday to Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with small class sizes of no more than 15 children per hour session. This allows the young ninjas to get plenty of one-on-one instruction from the teachers—known as code senseis—and build camaraderie with their classmates.

“We are really focussed on creating a sense of belonging for these kids. We encourage them to have fun while learning, talk to each other about their code and play each other’s games,” Kurjata says. “Having small class sizes creates that intimate team element where each child feels confident and a sense of contribution to the team.”

In addition to coding programs, Code Ninjas Kelowna will be offering plenty of summer camps this year as well. They are half-day camps covering popular games and platforms like Roblox, Minecraft, YouTube and the very popular BBC Micro:bit, which is a tiny computer that is programmed using block coding.

“Micro:bits is a super cool camp for hands-on kids,” Kurjata says. “In this camp, kids learn to code and then can download their code to the Micro:bit. Projects include things like making a pedometer. This camp is sort of like a maker class.”

Families are always encouraged to come check out Code Ninjas and can book a 30-minute game building tour through the Code Ninjas Kelowna scheduler.

All Code Ninjas Kelowna camps are now open for registration and can be found on the Code Ninjas camp page.

Code Ninjas Kelowna and Castanet have teamed up on a contest where one lucky person will win four coding sessions. The contest can be found here.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Think Local articles