Code Ninja Teaches Children Computer Code In Unique Ways


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Code Sensei instructors Bryan Polk, top left, and Samuel Gonzales help Lauren Soper code.

VIERA VOICE Jill Blue

Laurie Whittaker has the heart of an educator. For the past 19 years, she has worked as a kindergarten teacher’s assistant at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy’s Lower School in Melbourne.

And, she also has an entrepreneurial spirit.

Whittaker and her husband Jim, who live in Indian Harbour Beach, had been searching for a franchise for more than four years. When they flew to Texas to tour the first Code Ninja that opened, they knew it was the one.

“My husband thought it was a hobby of mine and just humored me,”  Whittaker said. “He never thought I would find one that I liked. Then, Code Ninjas popped up, and two weeks later, we bought it.”

Code Ninja teaches children how to computer code through an individualized, learn-at-your-own-pace program. It’s based upon a martial arts theme where students acquire belts under the direction of a guide, or sensei.

The 2,500-square foot facility has a classroom called the dojo, which Whittaker describes as a fishbowl. The classroom is filled with desks, chairs, a whiteboard and plenty of laptop computers. Parents can watch their children learn how to code through the glass.

The year-round drop-off program for students is flexible. Students can spend two hours per week working through the program — anytime between the hours of 3 and 7 p.m. daily.

Students begin at the white belt level and then work through the nine levels to earn a black belt. Reaching the final level can take several years.

The first four belts — white, yellow, orange and green — teach the basics of JavaScript. At the blue and purple belt levels, they use the robot studio to learn how to build. The brown and red belt levels teach them how to add 3D objects.

“When they get to black belt, they would have learned JavaScript and all the tools they need to create a video game or an app,” Whittaker said.

The purpose of the program is to teach children learning skills and how to persevere.

“Not everyone is going to be a coder, and that’s OK,” Whittaker said. “They learn that there is a solution to every problem. You just have to find it.”

Code Ninja also offers coding camps, coding-themed birthday parties and a parents’ night out.

“I love everything about Code Ninjas,” Whittaker said. “I enjoy teaching children and working with children. I love all this STEM stuff. We’re having a blast!”

Code Ninja is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located at 1950 Viera Blvd., Suite 112, next to Richard’s Paints. For information, call 321-622-4358 or go to codeninjas.com.VV

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