As humans, we thrive in communities, and the connections we forge with others are vital for our wellbeing. Having positive connections with our family, friends, and others in accepting and encouraging surroundings can improve our mental health and sense of wellbeing. And when our need for rewarding social connections is not met, we can feel alone and isolated – which can negatively affect our mental health. This month marks Children’s Mental Health Week, an initiative that shines a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Code Ninjas prides itself on providing a place where children can explore their love of coding whilst meeting new people and developing the confidence they will need for a healthy and happy future. Here, Justin Nihiser, CEO of Code Ninjas, discusses the ways in which the kids coding franchise and its network of franchisees are collaborating in their joint effort to support the wellbeing of children.
This year’s theme for Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Let’s Connect’, which emphasises the significance of making meaningful connections for all. A study by The Children’s Society has found that five children in a classroom of 30 pupils are likely to have some sort of mental health issue*. After the effects of the pandemic, children’s mental health is rightly being brought to the forefront, and there are many ways in which we can help these children feel supported. We at Code Ninjas are increasingly placing importance on how our locations up and down the country offer kids a space where they can connect with like-minded individuals and alleviate the everyday stresses that many children face.
Since taking the helm at Code Ninjas, I have had the pleasure of visiting our international locations and witnessing the incredible work our franchisees do to help develop their students’ self-esteem and resilience. Learning to code is invaluable in forming connections with others because it is interactive and encourages individuals to work together towards one common goal. Our franchisees use their studios as a place where children can interact with others in a space which is fun, inclusive and pressure-free. We aim to avoid the pressures many children face at school and in their day-to-day lives, instead opting for a pressure-free environment where kids can discover their love of coding without the expectation that they will pursue it in the future.
But first, to ensure our students are supported, we recruit franchisees who align with our brand’s core values and ethos. The root of our success has always been how our network of franchisees are bound together by their shared goal to support children in realising their full potential. Whilst we understand the incredible opportunities an education in coding can provide for children in the early stages of their life, it is a sense of belonging and wellbeing that we want to instil in our students and, ultimately, what keeps them coming back. In turn, this guarantees the long-term success of our franchisees.
Finding the right franchisees requires synergy between what the franchisor cares about and what the franchisee is passionate about. Whilst our model offers a highly successful and lucrative business model for our franchisees, prospects join Code Ninjas because they can see the passion we have for the happiness and development of our students.
Despite the negative connotations around mental health that come hand in hand with children’s access to digital technology, studies have proven that children who learn to code in a collaborative and engaging atmosphere are likely to become more well-rounded, confident and capable individuals in the future. At Code Ninjas, we are supporting our students to help alleviate some of the stresses caused by everyday life by actively encouraging children to find solace in the one pastime society is often so quick to challenge – screen time. Through the collective efforts of our network, we are providing parents child-controlled access to the things their kids thrive on, like gaming and coding, that can make up part of a balanced approach to create wellbeing and introduce skills that will benefit them for years to come.
* The Children’s Society: Children’s mental health statistics