Kids love technology, games and having fun with their friends. Parents want to give their kids the best and brightest future possible. That’s why we were so excited to learn that a company called Code Ninjas, which already had a location in the heart of Trumbull, was opening a second location in Fairfield! We met with the owner of both, Anu Kothandaraman, and were blown away about her knowledge of STEM and how her company is essentially preparing our kids for jobs that don’t even exist yet. Whether is it problem solving, becoming a quick learner, or great collaborators, STEM teaches kids to be curious, experiment and most importantly teaches them it is absolutely okay to fail and not to give up. Read more below about Anu, and why she brought this coding program here for our local kids!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I am originally from India, Came to US in 1997 and Connecticut has been my home since 2001. I have lived in Norwalk, Milford before and currently live in Trumbull.
Children / Age(s)
Madhu(14) High schooler (tenth grade) and Jyotsna (11) (Sixth grade) Both couldn’t be any different in personalities and keeps me on my toes!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
That I am a Musician as well, along side all other jobs I have 😊. I ran a successful music school and still continue to teach though I accept limited students at this time.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
That reading 100 or even 1000 books will not prepare you for it. That listening to anyone and everyone to take in all the tips you can will not prepare you for it. Honestly, you can never be fully prepared for it! But you will get thru it.. with flying colors! Also, that just because you had one and did great doesn’t mean you will have success raising the second one.. Each child is unique and so are your motherhood moments!
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
The beach, Library (great kids section) , local shops! Love to shop small and local.. the boutiques, unique gift shops, ice cream.. list goes on.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield county?
Fairfield county is full of fantastic schools, great teachers and parents who are vested in kids education and activities. We love the parks and local spots that buzz with activities throughout the year.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Our whole family loves Molto and Colony Grill! Did I tell you we love pizza??
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
We love to hike in all the lovely parks in Connecticut. Our favorite is sleeping giant in Hamden, CT. During winter months, we hibernate watching TV shows while camping on our living room floor!
Funniest part that you’ve learned about parenthood?
That I have to eat if my daughter has to go potty. That I cannot own a branded purse unless I am okay with sticky lollipop and pink sticky fingers while looking for car keys. That I cannot find my keys ever because it was flushed in the toilet. That I have no answers to all the questions – especially “why veggies don’t taste like ice cream and Chocolate taste like Broccoli so kids can be healthy”! I can go on and on…
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
(1) Plan, prepare and don’t worry if you are not perfect. (2) Choose the fights and teach the kids by doing not just saying.
Tell us about your business, Code Ninjas, when & why you started, and the reason behind it?
I have been fascinated by computers since I was in high school and did my masters in computer science, continuing my career path in the same field working for major companies in CT. Always been a great proponent of STEM, I couldn’t find a good program similar to code ninjas for my daughter. I researched and found Code Ninjas – a Franchise headquartered in Houston, TX. Immediately, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do.. It combined all my passions – Computer programming, Shaping the young minds and being a Small Business Owner. I jumped right into it and have not looked back since!
What are some of the benefits of STEM for kids?
Studies have shown that we are preparing our children for jobs that don’t exist yet! What does that even mean , you may ask.. Simply put, we need our children to be creative problem solvers, quick learners, leaders and great collaborators. STEM teaches kids to be curious, experiment and most importantly teaches them it is absolutely okay to fail and not to give up.
What kinds of classes/camps are offered at Code Ninjas?
Code Ninjas offers a variety of classes to children aged 7-14. Our flagship program runs throughout the year, teaching the kids computer programming via building video games. How fun is that! We are the only program that offers a comprehensive curriculum building a strong foundation- from basic programming to ultimately building an app to be published to app store! Other than our flagship program, we offer camps when schools are closed (Day camps and Summer camps) to expose kids to various technologies like VR, 3D printing, Drone programming and more. We also offer Stem nights, Birthday parties and many more interesting programs. To know more about all the programs offered in Fairfield, visit our website!
If you hadn’t started this business, what do you think you would be doing today?
Great question!! I have always wanted to do something on my own.. so I think I would be running a Music school instead of coding school 😊
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and a family?
I am asked this question frequently. How do you manage it all.. don’t you feel guilty? Honestly, there is nothing wrong about feeling “little” MOM guilt. I think it pushes us to be better! To overcome the guilt, I focus on 1 big thing at work and 1 thing to do with my kids every day. This way, even if other small things are not done , I still feel accomplished at the end of the day both at work and at home.
Another thing that has helped me is to have a realistic conversation with the kids and listening to their concerns to come up with a plan that works for all. This way, we all look forward to the agreed goal and there is less guilt when I stay late at work or order a take out meal because I was busy or tired 😊
Who has most influenced you to be the mother that you are today?
I have learnt and continue to learn from my mom, friends, family and my children. I would say that my firstborn is the one who has influenced me to be the Mom I am today. She is an old soul with compassion and kindness which has made me see “Me” thru her eyes. I want to impress her and be the best role model I can be!
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Enjoy your journey…it is yours and yours only. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else and oh.. Perfection need not be a word in Mom’s dictionary 😊