Local students are now able to learn to code through gaming at a new Code Ninjas center in Newcastle.
Code Ninjas is a coding center where children learn programming by using games they love like Scratch, Minecraft and Roblox. Students aren’t just playing games at Code Ninjas — they are building them.
Code Ninjas is a national chain coding center, but this is the first one in Washington.
Clara Ling, a former electrical engineer for Boeing, is the franchise owner for the Newcastle location.
As a mother to her two sons — 6 and 8 years old — she said she couldn’t find many opportunities for her children to learn coding. As a longtime resident of Bothell, she said there aren’t many coding opportunities for students in her area.
“There are a few after school programs here and there for coding, and some schools are just now adopting coding into their curriculum, but there just isn’t something like this out there right now,” Ling said.
Ling said becoming a Code Ninjas franchise owner was “such an opportunity,” and felt proud to be the one to help bring it to Washington.
“The great thing about Code Ninjas is that it builds the quality of kids’ coding skills. Kids learn better when they’re having fun,” she said. “It’s really beneficial because they’re also building leadership skills.”
Code Ninjas functions as an after school program during which students come in and create their games for two hours a week. Just like martial arts, in which students demonstrate progress through colored belts, students will demonstrate progress through colored wristbands.
The curriculum is self-paced but not self-taught. Students get immediate help and encouragement from code senseis and fellow students as they advance from white to black belt. The program keeps students motivated with wins along the way, and “Belt-Up” celebrations during which they receive color-coded wristbands to mark their graduation to the next level.
Students ages 7-14 can participate in Code Ninjas. It takes about three to four years to complete the program. By the time a student finishes the program, they will publish an app in an app store.
The Newcastle location opened its doors to the public Feb.1, but will be holding its grand opening celebration Feb. 23. It’s located at 13316 Newcastle Commons Dr.
Students and families who are interested in learning more about Code Ninjas are invited to participate in a 30-minute free game-building session.
Ling said the parents who have admitted their student into the program after participating in the session said they “had never seen their child that interested in anything STEM before then.”
For more information about Code Ninjas, visit www.codeninjas.com.