Community Story: How a group of Parents started a Dojo in Beijing
We recently verified a new Dojo, Dongcheng, Beijing @ study-fun, which has been set up by a collective of parents in their local community in the Dongcheng district of Beijing. The Dojo is the initiative of a local parent collective, Code Mama and Code Papa, who came together in order to bring fun, creative coding opportunities to their children and to equip them with valuable skills for the future.
Chris Zhang not only started the collective, she also Championed the Dojo! Chris realised the need for more opportunities for her own 8 year old son, having previously tried to find events and activities in her local community which would give her son an introduction to the world of coding and digital making. Chris was not alone in her search and the desire to create more learning opportunities was felt by several other local parents, many of whom are working in the IT industry themselves. Having learned about the CoderDojo movement through other CoderDojo volunteers, the parents decided to band together and start their own Dojo in Dongcheng! Chris and all the parents of the Dojo are passionate that coding is a valuable gateway into learning logical,analytical and creative skills. Through running the coding club, they hope to provide the local children with a solid foundation of critical thinking and problem-solving skills to enable them to thrive in the world of the future. Having fun is also a big part of this too!
The first Dojo took place on the 30th of December and was a huge success, even making local news! They welcomed the visiting professor, Kazuhiro Abe from Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan, who delivered a series of fun exercises and games with the parents and ninjas in order to teach a basic introduction to coding. Several international volunteers also took part in the event, bringing along a host of different skills.
For other parents interested in setting up their own Dojo, Chris suggests that it’s important for parents to make a consensus and work together from the beginning, in order to make sure that everyone is involved and happy in the decision-making. Details such as where to host the Dojo also take a lot of consideration: The Dongcheng Dojo decided to mix old and new by choosing a venue in a traditional Chinese courtyard where they can introduce innovative, creative and social learning opportunities. Above all, at the Dongcheng Dojo, parents and ninjas work together and have fun together. We wish them the very best of luck for 2018!
Thanks to Chris for sharing her insights and experience of leading a Dojo and inspiring other mothers and women to get involved and lead with CoderDojo and technology. You can find out more about the CoderDojo Girls initiative and our ‘Empowering the Future’ guide with various approaches Dojos are using to achieve greater gender parity in their Dojos.