About Us

A few kids and some laptops...

In October of 2013, my 4th grade son was on a soccer team in Mill Valley, California.  While waiting for practices to end, a few parents, including an executive at Google and a VC, encouraged me to teach those kids to code.  So, we grabbed 12 kids and started teaching them to code using Scratch and Javascript, around my dining room table.

8 weeks later, all 12 of those kids wanted to keep going! By then, though, many other families had heard about the program, and the 12 kids quickly turned into 40, at which point we decided to move the program out of our home and into a dedicated location.  So, we rented a space in downtown Mill Valley.  Our goal was to create a space that was exciting and social, and gave younger kids a fun environment to learn to code.  The program quickly grew from there to hundreds of kids, in both Mill Valley and Greenbrae locations.

Learning coding, in real life

I quickly learned that existing online tools were simply not sufficient for younger students, who had great passion and enthusiasm for learning to code.  So, I hired staff to work with kids. and aim to keep a 4:1 student teacher ratio, so that each child can get the attention that they need to succeed.   Staff at MV Code Club love to work with kids, and are passionate about technology.

Coding is can be challenging, and is a real growth experience for kids.  Computers are notoriously unforgiving, and it can hard to learn how to debug and solve your problems on your own.  This is what makes us different - we have great staff and great curriculum, and can help your child overcome their obstacles and take control of technology, instead of being controlled by it.

A place for young coders

So much of our real estate is dedicated to sports, but so little is given to technology!  There are so many kids who love tech, games, and robotics.  These kids tended to work at home with headphones on, away from their friends.  We wanted to create a physical space for those kids - the ones who love coding and technology and wanted to be around other kids like themselves.

I believe that the best way to learn is to build.  We are a student driven program and provide a lot of curriculum like Scratch, HTML, Javascript, Arduino, Java and Unity 3D.  We serve kids from 1st grade up until 8th grade.  Older students (in high school) serve as interns and instructors - they help teach younger kids, and we teach them.  Kids move at their own pace, and our goal is to help students create their own projects. 

Code with friends (and make new ones!)

I believe coding is social, and you can learn better with friends.  They can collaborate and share together.  We encourage friends to come together, and we group students by peer group, rather than by experience level.  We can do this because we individually track each student, and so we are able to allow students to work on projects next to their friends, even if they are working on completely different subjects or concepts.

We offer girls-only sessions at our locations.  It's really important for girls to see coding and technology as part of their identity at a young age.  Having girls participate in coding in a social environment, with their friends, creates a great atmosphere.   We hope as they grow up, they will continue to pursue a passion for technology, and serve as role models for younger girls entering the tech field.

Doug Tarr

Founder and Director of Hackery

MV Code Club