Starting a coding club (Dojo) for young people in your local community is a rewarding and relatively straightforward process. Champions-to-be must fill out the Start a Dojo application form to have their Dojo verified by the team at the Foundation and be recognised as an official CoderDojo group. We also recommend downloading the Champions' Handbook, which is the essential guide to setting up and running a Dojo.
To get started, follow the simple steps below.
Step 1. Find a champion
The champion is essentially the project manager of the Dojo. Champions do not need to have coding skills, they only need to be able to bring people together and be comfortable with organising the various aspects of the club. The champion usually acts as the first point of contact for the Dojo, and is the person who will fill out the Start a Dojo application form (link above).
Step 2. Gather a team
You can run a Dojo on your own, but it is best to gather a team! This helps to share the work, and also ensures the continuity of the Dojo if the champion is away. We generally recommend a ratio of one adult to eight young people. Find more information about recruiting mentors and volunteers here.
Step 3. Find a venue
Finding a suitable venue is an important aspect of setting up a Dojo. You can find more information about sourcing a venue here.
Step 4. Plan your Dojo
It is a good idea to get organised before your first Dojo session and think about what learning materials you would like to introduce, including any warm-up games or snack breaks.
- Plan your content: CoderDojo is mainly project-oriented and encourages young people to explore their own creativity. Ninjas learn coding basics, and with support from mentors they create their own exciting, creative projects. Learning resources are available here.
- Plan a meeting: Plan a meeting with your mentors to map out what you want to cover in your Dojo in advance.
- Plan your sessions: Plan the time and frequency of your Dojo, and make sure to regularly update your Dojo’s profile page with information about upcoming events.
Step 5. Promote your Dojo
Create your first event listing on Zen or an alternative ticketing platform and spread the word about your club! Tell your friends, co-workers, local schools, and make sure to set up a Twitter and Facebook account. Social media posts are very useful for spreading the word about your Dojo!
Once you have progressed through these steps and been verified by the Foundation, then you are ready to go!