Code Ninjas is a brand new coding club for 5-14 year olds based at Applecroft School in Welwyn Garden City. We were invited to the fantastic launch day and while Ethan enjoyed a taster session, I met with the owners to find out more about Code Ninjas and exactly what they’re offering.
What is Code Ninjas?
Code Ninjas is a huge coding franchise founded by David Graham, which began in the US and Canada and is now starting up over here in the UK. Husband and wife team Pradip and Bhavna Patel launched Code Ninjas back in September 2020 in Welwyn and were just the third club to open in the UK.
Bhavna explained to me how Code Ninjas really tries to create a fun, inclusive environment where all children feel comfortable and excited to learn. Teachers are not called teachers – they are Code Senseis™. The students are ninjas and all learning takes place not in the classroom but in the dojo. Ninjas work their way steadily from White Belt to Black Belt and by the end, Bhavna told me that they will have the knowledge and skills to build and release their very own app.
I really liked the sound of this philosophy underpinning Code Ninjas. It really helps to foster respect in the dojo and also provides a great sense of progression for those learning. Bhavna also told me how fantastic Chrysoula is – she is the studio Director and becomes really involved with each and every ninja, making sure they’re getting the most out of their experience.
Ninjas all work at their own pace leaning how to code games such as Minecraft and Roblox, guided and mentored by the Senseis whose role is to help the ninjas solve problems independently. This helps to develop those critical thinking and problem solving skills which are so vital. They use computers, circuits and even robotics!
Why is coding so important?
While coding is a complete mystery to much of my generation, many of our kids will need to understand it for their future careers, particularly if they’re interested in game and app development for example. The advancement of technology rests of a future generation of coders and that is what Code Ninjas is helping to nurture.
It isn’t just about the coding skills though. Bhavna told me how ninjas develop a new-found confidence from attending the club which then positively impacts other areas of their school and home life. Parents have shared with Bhavna that their children are more focused, enjoy learning more and are better at independently solving problems since joining Code Ninjas. Communication and creativity skills can also improve.
Our experience of Code Ninjas
We signed Ethan up for a 30 minute taster session. We were invited into the dojo (the school’s specialist IT suite) and I could see how excited Ethan was. He loves Maths and Science and has expressed an interest in coding for a while now. He has even been trying to teach himself at home! So this was extremely exciting for him.
Sensei Alex sat down with Ethan and made him feel really comfortable. He barely said goodbye to us! During their session, they built a circuit from scratch with a working propeller and a musical doorbell. On the computer, Ethan used a program called Scratch to code a computer game which moved a Ninja around a maze.
I have to say I haven’t seen Ethan this excited about learning for ages. He is bright and gifted in Maths, so coding is a very natural step for him and probably the challenge that he really needs.
Ethan absolutely loved the taster session and we basically had to drag him away. He was quite in awe of his Sensei Alex who apparently is the fountain of all things coding! Ethan told me that Alex explained things really well to him and let him choose what he wanted to do.
The great thing about the Senseis is that the majority are young students who the ninjas can really relate to. It is also a brilliant opportunity for the Senseis to share their knowledge and love of coding while developing their teaching skills too.
Ethan talked about Code Ninjas for ages afterwards (he’s still talking about it, to be honest) and needless to say, he is extremely keen to return!
When does the club run and how much does it cost?
Code Ninjas Welwyn runs sessions every day after school and also on Saturdays.
When you enroll, you are given access to an online site where you can book your sessions and follow your child’s progress. You don’t have to attend a set session each week, you can book as and when is convenient. Your child receives a coloured wristband depending on their belt which they use to sign in each time they enter the dojo.
Prices are not cheap but let’s face it, this is not really a standard after school club. Code Ninjas is a very unique offering which schools just don’t have the time or resources to provide as part of the curriculum.
The Create Standard program costs £169/month for two hours per week (the first month is currently discounted at £99). The Create Lite programme costs £99/month for one hour per week. Bhavna tells me there are deals available for bundles of 3/6/12 months if you pay upfront. Once enrolled, you are also entitled to 10% off holiday camps.
Book a FREE TASTER SESSION
If you’re interested in booking your child/ren in for a free 30 minute taster session as Ethan did, you can book your slot here.
To find out more, you can visit the website here.
Bhavna is a genuinely lovely person and I can see how passionate she is about the business and teaching children to code. A trained Accountant, she told me how they started Code Ninjas to achieve a better work/life balance and to have a business that all her family could be involved in. As such, this means the club has a ‘big family’ feel about it.
What I also really like about Code Ninjas is that it makes screen time a sociable thing. As we all know, screen time is usually a solitary act that as parents, we tend to try to minimise as much as possible. But at Code Ninjas, the kids will make friends and build strong relationships with the Senseis, while getting their screen fix!
Yes, it is an investment but if you can afford it and your child is keen, I think it is probably an investment worth making.
We’d like to say a big thank you to the Code Ninjas team for inviting us along to your event. Ethan had a fantastic time and it certainly has made it clear that coding is likely to play a big part of his future!