Traci and Erick Leon at the Coral Springs Code Ninjas location.

By: Jen Russon

There’s a new resource for kids who love computers and gaming, coming to town and they’re holding their Grand Opening celebration this weekend.

Called Code Ninjas, the center is designed so that kids ages 7 to 14 can learn the language of coding, and, ultimately develop and upload their own video games or custom app on the App Store. The franchise started in Texas one year ago, with rapid expansion just under 400 centers across the United States.

With two centers already up and running in Cooper City and Plantation, on Saturday, April 13 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Code Ninjas will be celebrating the Grand Opening of their Coral Springs location with games, face painting, a Ninja photo booth, treats, and more. Parents can tour their brand new center and learn about their specials while the children enjoy a taste of what Code Ninjas is all about.

Owned by Traci and Erick Leon, Code Ninjas franchisees, Erick keeps his day job as an e-commerce performance architect and making each of the three centers fully operational, and Traci, a Broward County teacher of gifted students for the last 25 years, acts as hands-on owner-operator conducting tours and meeting new pupils every day.

“I’m not running a learning center, so much as building a community for kids who are interested in technology, building new friendships and come to a place they can call their own,” said Traci. “And the Code Ninjas mission is just that, our kids hone logic, problem solving and math skills along the way and it’s all done in a fun energetic atmosphere.”

She explained how a ninja theme makes the center fun. The classrooms are called dojos, and the instructors, senseis. Rather than karate chop their way through planks of wood, students hack away at laptops, earning first, a white belt through mastery of the Scratch program, and yellow through black belts once fluent in Javascript, LUAL, Unity 3D programs and the basics of robotic engineering.

Code Ninjas offers a drop-in program, spring break and summer camps, in addition to a very popular Parents Night Out. Imagine enjoying a date night once a month, while your child plays brain boosting games with their peers.

Code Ninjas

Kids tend to love Minecraft and Roblox, and at Code Ninjas they get to indulge in high style. 

The center is well-appointed for Potter heads and future Google employees – there are “coding wands” for J.K. Rowling fans to program, and a fun, creative atmosphere in which the future techies of the 21st century can chill – with or without their parents in close proximity.

Traci said that parents are always welcome to hang out in the waiting area where there is Wi-Fi and coffee, but are permitted in the dojos on open house days only.

“Drop-in is our core program. Before we enroll a new ninja, we recommend that parents bring their kids in for the free 30 minute trial,” said Traci, who always gives a tour first.

Those with membership at Code Ninjas can choose any two days of the week for “drop-ins”; it doesn’t have to be pre-booked. Parents can enjoy the flexibility of leaving their kids at drop-in for an hour, or stick around.

A life-long teacher, Traci admits there is a need to teach more computer tech in our public schools.

“The job growth in IT is exploding. Computer programming is a language, and young people learn new languages easily,” she said, going on to describe one of the first programming tasks in her center’s curriculum.

“We teach the kids how to code a traffic light to change from red to yellow, to green. That’s an example of programming in real-life – the way so many jobs look now,” she said.

Parkland parents interested in learning more about Code Ninjas and their 3, 6 or 12 month memberships, contact Traci Leon at 954-399-7000 or register for a tour online

Grand Opening

Saturday, April 13, from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Address

4669 N. University Drive.  Coral Springs FL  (on the corner of Wiles and University near Fresh Market)

Center hours:

Monday – Friday 12 p.m. – 8p.m. , Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Student hours:

Monday – Friday 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.