Michigan’s first Code Ninjas center, which teaches children computer coding and other skills while building video games, is set to open Feb. 15 at 51226 Romeo Plank Rd. in Macomb Township.
Children ages 5-14 will be able to learn how to code in a fun, safe, and social learning environment where gaming is celebrated, and STEM is cool, according to owner Jason Umphrey, a Microsoft certified trainer and professional software developer with more than 20 years of experience. He says the center provides the results that parents are looking for, as their children gain coding and problem-solving skills they need today, and for the jobs of the future.
“Code Ninjas will give kids a chance to get ahead and learn skills that will be essential for their future,” says Umphrey. “Children in the U.S. are falling behind in STEM compared to the rest of the world, and Code Ninjas was created to close that gap. Code Ninjas puts kids on the other side of the screen. Instead of consuming games, kids create them.”
Code Ninjas Macomb will host a grand opening event on Saturday, Feb. 22. Complimentary game building sessions, STEM learning activities, and refreshments will be offered for students and their parents to get familiar with the Code Ninjas curriculum.
Code Ninjas core program consists of a nine-belt system, just like martial arts. The curriculum is self-paced, but not self-taught. Kids get support and encouragement from code senseis and fellow students as they advance from white to black belt. This step-by-step approach helps students to build upon their skills in a logical way. It also challenges them to stretch themselves and use critical thinking and problem-solving skills as they advance to higher levels while gaining coding and problem-solving skills.
The program keeps kids motivated with Belt-Up celebrations where they receive color-coded wristbands to mark their graduation to the next level. By the time a child finishes the program, they will publish an app in an app store.
Code Ninjas offers a variety of programs for children to learn and get involved in technology, including a flexible weeknight drop-in program, summer and day camps, birthday parties, and parents’ night out events. The new center may also be offering an after-school program for the 2020 school year.
There are plans for a second Code Ninjas location in Rochester Hills.