Students often want more than their schools can offer, said Jason Hansen, of Code Ninjas.
For some, that’s competitive sports teams or specialty athletics, he said. Others yearn for greater STEM-based learning opportunities — like those offered at Hansen’s Leawood center.
“It’s just like you might have a dance studio, or a baseball academy,” Hansen said. “This is really modeled after that same kind of thing, except from the programming and robotics aspect.”
The extracurricular STEM program opened Monday, focusing on teaching children, ages 7-14, foundational skills.
Based on a karate-style curriculum, students start with a white belt, learning the basics of coding, then work their way up to a black belt wherein they will eventually create and publish an app.
The Leawood center — featuring the Code Ninjas franchise operated by Hansen and his wife, Angela — showcases the couple’s passion, they said. Angela has a background in art education, while Jason has computer science experience.
“We just felt like there was a need for it here,” Angela Hansen said. “This gives kids a social aspect which is really important, especially for kids who are arty or inner-focused. To let them be in a social environment with like-minded kids, to do something that’s fun.”
Code Ninja’s design and setup attracted the Hansens to the program, Jason Hansen said. It’s structured to be a very fun environment, but also open to parents, he said.
Windows surround the classrooms so parents can observe the students’ activities, he illustrated.
“The tagline is: Kids have fun and parents see results,” he said.
The Hansens plan to open three more Code Ninja studios across the Kansas City metro in later years, they said. The couple is determined connect with the region, Jason Hansen added.
“We want to be a part of the STEM community — not just a class that kids come to,” he said.