Want your 6-year-old to learn computer coding? Naperville has the school for you.

  • Students at a new Codeverse studio set to open in October in Naperville can learn a child-friendly computer coding language called KidScript that allows them to design apps and games and program hardware, such as lights and robotic arms.

    Students at a new Codeverse studio set to open in October in Naperville can learn a child-friendly computer coding language called KidScript that allows them to design apps and games and program hardware, such as lights and robotic arms. Courtesy of Codeverse

  • Under the direction of instructors, students at the computer coding academy Codeverse use iPads to learn to use a child-friendly computer language called KidScript to program apps, games and physical devices. Codeverse is opening new studios in October in Naperville and Wilmette.

    Under the direction of instructors, students at the computer coding academy Codeverse use iPads to learn to use a child-friendly computer language called KidScript to program apps, games and physical devices. Codeverse is opening new studios in October in Naperville and Wilmette. Courtesy of Codeverse

  • Students at Codeverse, which launched in Chicago in 2017, use iPads to learn basic computer coding techniques to create games and apps and control devices, such as light fixtures or robotic arms.

    Students at Codeverse, which launched in Chicago in 2017, use iPads to learn basic computer coding techniques to create games and apps and control devices, such as light fixtures or robotic arms. Courtesy of Codeverse

 
 
Updated 8/23/2018 12:56 PM

Computer coding is now for kids at a business that's soon to open in Naperville.

Codeverse, launched in Chicago in 2017, teaches children as young at 6 the basics of computer coding through a language its co-founders created called KidScript.

 

Simpler than typical "adult languages" for computer coding, such as JavaScript, C++ or Python, KidScript allows children to learn code commands that create games and apps or control devices, such as lighting fixtures and robotic arms, said Katy Lynch, Codeverse co-founder and chief marketing officer. These building blocks translate into the grown-up coding languages kids can learn later.

"We've taken all of the core concepts from JavaScript and Python and others," said Lynch, who launched the business with her husband, Craig Ulliott, and Chief Technology Officer David Arel. "We've created a more simplified language that is easy to read and write for the children."

Kids whose parents sign them up for Codeverse can start the fun stuff of game and app design on Day 1 and can participate in weekly classes or weeklong camps.

The business' goal is to teach 1 billion kids how to write and understand computer code. The expansion in October to Naperville and Wilmette is part of that plan, Lynch said.

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"It helps children in a multitude of ways. It's equipping them with the technical skills that they need," she said. "Beyond the technical skills, coding helps with building confidence. It helps with instilling creativity. It certainly helps with problem-solving and with critical thinking and with collaboration and teamwork within the space."

Codeverse is meant for kids in first through eighth grade, and parents can sign them up for $175 a month with a four-month commitment or $225 on a month-to-month basis. Weeklong camps, which run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in the spring, summer and fall, cost $800.

Learning programming at Codeverse follows each child's interests and abilities, Lynch said.

"It's not like a traditional classroom-style environment where the teacher is telling the kids what to build," Lynch said. "Instructors are there to guide the kids if they need help."

Kids start each Codeverse session by choosing an iPad marked with their name. From the iPad, they choose "learn" mode or "build" mode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"There's multiple lessons that kids can learn all the different core concepts," Lynch said. "As they're learning those concepts, they apply that into build mode, which is really a blank canvas where the kids can build whatever they want and then share it with their friends and family."

Each time Codeverse students complete a game or an app, they can text a link to their parents that allows them to play. Lynch said some game designs are very simple, reminiscent of the geometric falling-blocks challenge of Tetris; others involve complex levels, characters and players, more along the lines of Super Mario Bros.

"We find that a lot of the games are very object-oriented," Lynch said.

Codeverse aims to hire about 100 people, many of them certified teachers or experts in arts, design or technical skills, to staff the Naperville and Wilmette studios.

The Naperville location will be at 55 S. Main St., suite 230. Parents can sign up their kids for a waiting list in advance by visiting https://www.codeverse.com/naperville/.

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