The future is here

Fun new 'dojo' for aspiring videogame builders powers up in Fort Worth area

New 'dojo' for aspiring videogame builders powers up for Fort Worth

Code Ninjas
At Code Ninjas, kids learn to code while building their own videogames. Photo courtesy of Code Ninjas

There's no such thing as too much imagination in these classrooms. Code Ninjas, a learning center that teaches kids to write code by building videogames, flying drones, and working with robotics, is opening a new location in the Fort Worth area on Monday, August 3.

The new center, at 3529 Heritage Trace Pkwy., Ste. 173 in Keller/far north Fort Worth, joins Code Ninjas in other Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs including Mansfield, Southlake, Murphy, McKinney, Coppell, Lewisville, and Frisco; each Code Ninjas outlet is independently owned.

According to a release, the Keller location is owned and operated by Rushabh and Rini Doshi. Boston natives, the entrepreneurial couple moved to the Fort Worth area in 2016 and operates their own dental practice. After hearing about Code Ninjas from a friend, they wanted to provide local kids with the chance to foster a curiosity for STEM and technology, they say.

“What excites me most about Code Ninjas is that children get an educational experience in a fun and entertaining way,” says Rini Doshi in the release. “Being parents to two kids ourselves, we understand that in this growing age of technology, coding languages are as important to learn as English, Spanish or French.”

Coding has been called "the literacy of the 21st century” because, just like math, science, and literature, it is now a key aspect of understanding today's technologically advanced world. "There’s a huge need for a generation that not only understands technology, but how it works," Code Ninjas says on its website. 

Each center teaches children ages 7 to 14 how to write computer code in different languages (Java Script, Lua, and C#, to get technical about it) and work with robotics in a martial arts-themed environment. They gain coding and problem-solving skills they’ll need for the jobs of the future while having a lot of fun, the owners promise.

A game-based curriculum is composed of nine belts, as in martial arts classes. With a little help from the Code Senseis and fellow students, they can advance from white belt all the way up to black belt. Instead of actual belts, they receive color-coded wristbands that mark their graduation to the next level, complete with “Belt-Up” celebrations noting their accomplishments.

There are a variety of opportunities for children to get involved, including a flexible drop-in program, camps (both in-person and virtual), and Parents Night Out events. According to the website, the Keller center is open 12-8 pm Monday through Friday, with programs taking place 3-7 pm on those days.

The Code Ninjas program costs $249 per month for a standard Create Regular package, and parents can try before they buy.

Code Ninjas was started by someone who knows what he's doing in this realm. Founder and CEO David Graham is a professional software developer who previously owned a successful chain of coding camps for adults. After numerous inquiries from parents, Graham realized there was an unmet demand to teach children coding skills, the release says, so he launched the Code Ninjas brand in 2016.

Given that the Keller center is opening amid the coronavirus pandemic, they are taking several steps to keep kids, parents, and instructors safe.

"Code Ninjas will be limiting capacity and keeping children spaced out," a company spokesman says. "It will be two kids to a table instead of six, everyone will be wearing masks, Code Ninjas has air purifiers to help kill germs, employees will be cleaning throughout the day (including after every child sits at a workstation), and at the end of each day, the entire center will be cleaned with chemical sterilizers."

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Brett Weiss contributed to this story.