FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Coding at theCoderSchool

What is theCoderSchool?

We’re a coding school for kids that teaches our students using a customized curriculum in a semi-private setting. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all curriculums, and we don’t believe in software programs doing the teaching. Instead, our core program pairs each student with an expert coder called a Code Coach in a 2:1 lesson to guide them on a custom journey, unique to the student. As any real developer will tell you, there’s no better way to learn a new language or platform than by coding something with it. That’s how we teach too – learn by doing, but with expert guidance.

What's your personality?

Well THAT’s a weird question to ask a school! But we do have a personality! Founded and run by a couple of down to earth guys, we’re a down to earth school. We’re not all about the profits, we’re all about helping our communities and kids learn to code. We’re parents ourselves and we’re here to do you right. We’ve been at this for over 6 years, with over 50 locations, over 4500 students, over 750 staff, and lots of happy parents and kids. We’re internationally published authors with 2 books on kids coding, and we even have a video teaching series we call our AppStream. That’s a lot of fluff, so what’s REALLY our personality? It’s Code Coaching – so read on!

Who are your Code Coaches?

theCoderSchool employs over 700 Code Coaches all around the country, ranging from veterans from the software industry to CS majors at prestigious universities. Our Code Coaches aren’t formal teachers, but rather passionate coders that are excited about helping kids learn to code. While we do have a Google or Netflix employee or two working at our schools, we shouldn’t always assume they’re the best coach for every student! Chemistry of the relationship is so much more important, and all our coaches are vetted with wide-ranging real-life coding skills and trained in theCoderSchool’s philosophy and methodology. Come by a location to meet a Code Coach today!

What makes you different than other coding schools?

Our coaches! Think about how you would want to learn a new skill. Would you want to take a static online course? Listen to the same lecture class as hundreds of others? Or, would you rather sit down next to an expert mentor who can guide you on your own personal journey? Setting up thousands of 2:1 lessons across the country with hundreds of coaches is a challenging process and might take a liiiittle more effort than just sitting your child in front of a computer and letting them find their own way. But in our opinion, it’s all worth the quality learning experience!

Why Use a 2:1 Ratio?

After over 6 years of teaching, we’ve found the best ratio is 2:1. Not only does each student get some very focused attention, it allows kids to learn and build off of each other in a more social format. While we also offer private lessons, a paired format adds that collaborative angle where there’s sharing, idea bouncing, and even the occasional showing off!

Why learn to code?

Learning to code isn’t just for kids who want to become career software developers. Learning to code teaches kids fundamental problem solving skills which can help them prepare for any career whether they become a doctor,lawyer, plumber, teacher, or any other career. Beyond the logic, look at all the tech around you. Who’s going to configure tomorrow’s routers or understand how AI or quantum computing works? Your kids, that’s who!

What age should kids start coding?

We recommend about 7 or 8. In general, you want them to have developed a basic ability for logic and be able to navigate a computer before getting them started. For younger children, it’s still good to give them exposure, but you can do this at home for free (try apps like Kodable, Scratch Jr., or Hopscotch).

Our Curriculum

What curriculum do you use?

We don’t believe in a one-size fits all curriculum, but rather use a dynamic way of teaching with many curriculums. Our philosophy is that the best way to learn to code is to do it the same way real developers do it – code something! Rather than mindless exercises or memorizing syntax, kids build custom apps with guidance from their Code Coach. From websites to games, from data utilities to network applications, what our kids code differs from student to student. Instead of a one-size fits all curriculum, our students code apps that are meant to engage them specifically, based on their interests and skill levels. After all, if kids don’t want to learn, they’re not going to learn!

How do I see weekly progress?

Each week, our coaches write structured notes in our proprietary Notes+ system. This system tracks language(s), concepts, homework, and other important session information to track everything learned while building their own custom app. Parents are emailed the notes after each session with a link to our Coder Progress page. Our proprietary Coder Progress page shows a complete summary of progress over time, giving parents an easy way to track progression, concepts learned, and languages used.

In addition to weekly Notes+ progress, students also receive App Reviews every 3-5 months. While Notes+ represents cumulative progress at theCoderSchool, an App Review is a point in time assessment of the student’s skill level. Each App Review combines assessments of a student’s levels in over 30 skill areas, a general freeform assessment, and the uploading of their latest app to our App Gallery. App Reviews also come with a graphical representation of their skillset in the form of a Coder Tree! Take a look at a sample App Review screenshot to the right. Many locations also time App Reviews with Coder Fairs, a chance for students to show and discuss their app in front of an audience and get it judged in a science-fair style competition!

What languages do you teach?

All kinds! If our coaches know the language, we can teach it. Deep down though, we believe language isn’t important – instead it’s about underlying logic and technical structure. While our beginners are focused on logical analysis, our intermediate to advanced coders are learning about higher level concepts like 3D, AI, data analysis or any of a number of expert concepts. While some languages are better suited for different concepts, most concepts can be taught in a large variety of languages.

All that said, we do have a general progression. Most beginners gravitate towards Scratch because it’s so graphical and easy to learn logic without needing to type. Middle school and older kids tend to be taught in either Python or Javascript, and could learn new concepts on a single language literally forever. Or, they could try other languages like Java, C++, Scheme, Go, whatever! But in the end, remember, it’s not about what languages you know – it’s about what you can do with them!

What platforms do you use to teach?

The best platform is the one that your child gets engaged with most! While every child is different in some ways, we’ve also found some common ground and typical ones they like. Some of the ones we use include Scratch from MIT, trinket.io, pixelpad.io, codepen, repl.it, Xcode, Eclipse, and many many more. We don’t use a proprietary platform because there’s so many out there already, free! The idea is each child learns differently, so we want to use the experience of our Code Coaches and their relationship with each student to find the right platform that best fits the student they are working with!

What happens in a Code Coaching session?

Every Code Coaching session is different and customized to the interests and coding level of the student. Each week is fluid – they may continue to build their application or take a Round of Code (a quiz). They may have a Tech Talk about Internet Safety or Net Neutrality. They may use a more fixed curriculum to brush up on specific skills. Or, mostly, they’ll be coding their very own custom application. The end goal is a dynamic experience that centers around custom projects, learning in the same way a real developer learns – by doing!

Do you offer virtual coaching?

You bet! That darned corona virus taught us a thing or two, including how to teach a quality lesson safely over a Zoom conference call. But, because we have locations all around the country, we ask that if you’re near a physical school, to please enroll with that school. Nothing beats that local vibe! If you’re not near a school or even in another country, just fill out the form on our front page and let’s get to it!

Do students have access to code in between lessons?

Yep, they sure do! Once an hour per week isn’t a lot of practice, so we encourage our kids, especially intermediate to advanced kids, to code in between. Most of our platforms are online, and can be accessed from anywhere with internet. Advanced coders will be asked to bring and use their own laptop which they can bring home to continue coding.

Our Programs

What programs do you offer?

80% of our student body is enrolled in our core program, Code Coaching. Code Coaching is our base philosophy, and is a weekly 2:1 (semi-private) hourly lesson with a Code Coach, building custom projects. For those on a budget, we also offer Code Class, a more economic and traditional classroom and curriculum style program. For kids looking for an advanced experience or preparing for college, ask us about our Code Coaching PRO!

How long do your programs last?

As long as you want! Like learning any skill, there’s always more. We’ve been coders our whole lives and we’re still learning new things every week! Our programs operate on a month to month basis – start when you like, end when you like. When starting with us, we’ll assess the student’s skill level and start teaching them from wherever they’re at. We don’t have a static curriculum, so we never force kids to start from level 0. As long as they want to keep learning, we’ll have more to teach them!

Do you have summer camps?

We’ve got lots of camps! We offer standard nationwide camps such as these, and select locations may offer their own kinds of camps as well, such as Roblox or Unity camps. Select locations also offer camps during holiday or spring breaks, as well as the summer. Check your nearest location to find their current camp offerings.

How about at schools, workshops or other programs?

We’re a flexible bunch, so our owners offer a wide range of services. All our locations offer an @School program where we can teach a class before (or during) school at a pubic or private school. We also offer free Hours of Code, where we send a Code Coach to a school to teach kids to code for an hour. Workshops, date nights, birthday parties – check with your nearest location to find out what they offer!

Signing Up

How do I enroll?

The best way is to contact your nearest location. If you don’t live near one, that’s ok too, contact us from our main page. We’ll get to know you and your child a little bit, and offer up a no-commitment free trial to make sure we’re the kind of school you want to join. If you decide to join, we’ll set you up with a weekly schedule and start as soon as you’re ready.

What time are the lessons?

Almost all our lessons are an hour long. To provide learning consistency, they’re all at the same time each week, with the same coach, and with the same set of kids. You’ll be given your specific time when you enroll, and an email reminder prior to your lesson.

Can I cancel my session or change the schedule?

Of course you can! We know that keeping a routine schedule is great – but it also means changing it once in a while. Just give us 24 hours notice and we can change your schedule or provide a make up.

How do I cancel my enrollment?

We’d be sorry to see you go, but to cancel your enrollment just contact your location’s general manager. While we have a formal 30 day notice cancellation policy, if you really need an exception, just let us know. We’re parents too, and understand when things come up – we’ll do our best to do you right. We won’t give you the hard sell to stay with us, as long as you promise your child will continue to learn to code, whether at home or with another coding school!

Private+Semi-Private Coaching

Virtual Learning

Coding Classes

Robotics

Python

Scratch

What is theCoderSchool? We are an after-school drop-off (and virtual) program for kids learning to code - a coding school! There's after-school kung fu. There's after-school music lessons, sports, art, tutoring, Chinese, you name it, it's out there. But coding for kids? We're among the first of many, and the largest in Silicon Valley with more locations on the way around the country. The future will be ever more dependent on technology so let's get our young generation ready. Learn to Code, Change the World®.

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