Astoria entrepreneurs and parents have opened a new learning center with a mission to help kids learn how to code by building video games, flying drones and learning Roblox.
Cheng Yang and Ronny Beyer debuted Code Ninjas for the first time at 31-35 31st St. on Sept. 16. Code Ninjas was founded in 2016, and is the world’s largest and fastest-growing kids coding franchise.
The Astoria Code Ninjas learning center welcomes kids 7 to 14 years old and encourages them to immerse themselves in the field of computer coding in a fun, non-intimidating way — either in-person and through virtual camps.
Yang and Beyer have been neighbors in Astoria for six years. Yang has a coding background and has worked in the technology industry for 20 years. Beyer is currently a small business owner and was introduced to Code Ninjas with Yang when their friend opened a Code Ninjas location.
They not only loved the concept, but also saw the impact it could make on Queens kids and the community as a whole.
“Our kids played a role in inspiring us to open this new Code Ninjas because we recognize how important it is for kids to learn how to code,” said Yang. “Code Ninjas provides kids with an awesome, fun way to learn how to code and build life skills, which is why we are excited to have the opportunity to be the first Code Ninjas within the five boroughs.”
Their Astoria location is their first, but they hope to expand in the future.
In order to ensure the safety of all Ninjas, Senseis (teachers) and parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Code Ninja is taking extra precaution.
Employees will thoroughly clean the center on a daily basis. Devices, tables, door handles, bathrooms, and other frequently-used surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day. Student workspaces and equipment, including computers, monitors, and mice will be cleaned between every student session.
There will also be an increased distance between individual student workstations in the Dojo, as well as careful monitoring and enforcement of no-contact interactions.
While everything about Code Ninjas is fun-based, the center also provides results parents are looking for, such as problem-solving skills.
The organization has a robust, game-based curriculum made up of nine belts, just like martial arts.
The curriculum is self-paced, but not self-taught. Kids get immediate help and encouragement from Code Senseis and fellow students as they advance from white to black belt. The program keeps kids motivated with little wins along the way, and “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 also offers a variety of opportunities for children to get involved, including a flexible weeknight drop-in program, camps and Parents Night Out events on weekends.
“In addition to our main coding program, we are also offering after school and school-pod programs for parents that are looking for help with virtual schools and activities after school,” the owners stated. “We are parents ourselves, so we understand the challenges dealing with public school schedules and constant changes with COVID situations. We have made schedule to be flexible, letting parents chose the dates, and they are adjustable. Our goals are to provide the children a safe learning place and give parents a flexible option to deal with the challenges.”
For more information about the Astoria Code Ninjas location, visit www.codeninjas.com/ny-astoria.
This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.