School Year 2015/2016 Full Curriculum
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


About Junior Tech Academy

Junior Tech Academy is a new program at Kids First aimed at providing kids in grades 1-8 a fun but educational introduction into the principles behind modern technology. Our teaching philosophy is based on the same principles as sports education: continuous practice and skill development in an environment that allows each child to find his or her own pace. We encourage teamwork and stimulate guided exploration based on your child’s interests. Our program’s courses range from beginner to advanced covering Programming, Electronics, Robotics, Engineering and Animation.

What classes will be offered this fall?

Starting this fall Junior Tech Academy (JTA) offers an ongoing curriculum of technology education classes. Throughout the year, kids enrolled in the program will participate in several projects exposing them to various aspects of technology, such as programming, electronic circuit design and principles, graphic design, robotics and engineering.

Children new to the program will beginwith an introductory class (Introduction to Computers and Coding) to get them up to speed with the fundamentals, and will join previously enrolled kids in the mainstream program once the introductory class has been completed.

Classes will be offered at different grade levels – Grades 1&2, Grades 3-5 and Grades 6+. Each class has 2 hours of instruction per week. As kids progress in their understanding they will move up through the program. Additional class levels (intermediate, advanced) will be introduced once the program has been established successfully.

What topics will be covered? Can you give some examples?

During the year the class will tackle several projects, each taking up several weeks of effort. These projects will cover several of the key technology concepts, varying in scope between them. A few examples (NOTE these are provided for illustration purposes only and are subject to change):

  • We will design and build a Super Mario Brothers style video game where the children design their character, backgrounds and obstacles and code the game logic, all using the Scratch programming language. Once done, they will use their SnapCircuits electronics kit to build a controller for the game.
  • We will build a LEGO(tm) Mindstorms robot and program it to complete a number of tasks.
  • Using Minecraft, we will construct Redstone circuits to help our understanding of logic circuits as used in electronics.
  • For the older and more advanced levels, a flying drone building project is being planned, where students build and program their own miniature quadcopter drone.

What teaching tools and materials are used for this program?

We will use materials from a number of sources, such as:

Teaching Tools

Do we need to bring any equipment? Is there any equipment we should buy?

No, equipment will be provided during the classes. All students will receive a USB flash drive to store their work on to take home. For practice at home purposes, it is recommended that children enrolled in the ongoing program purchase a basic programming and electronics starter kit. This kit consists of a customized Raspberry Pi educational computer (~$70) as well as a basic Snap Circuits electronics kit (~$40). More details on this will be provided once the program starts.

When does this class run?

JTA has an ongoing curriculum with no start or end dates. Our classes run 2 hours per week. For the grade 1&2 and grades 3-5 levels two class options are offered: a 2x1hr per week class or a 1x2hr per week class. The grade 6+ level has a 2hr class once per week. The Introductory class is open for all grade levels and is a single 2hr session each week. Classes will start after the Labor Day week (Kids First is closed for regular classes the week of Sep 7th).

What are the fees for this class? How will I be billed for this class?

The monthly fee for the ongoing program is $199. This includes all materials used during the class. Billing will happen as per the usual Kids First billing cycle, on or around the 15th day of the month.

What age group is this class targeted at?

Our program is specifically targeted at kids in grades 1-8.


What is the maximum class size?

There is currently no limit on the number of students per class, but depending on demand more class times will be added to the schedule if the number of kids per class becomes too large.

What are the class times?

The official class schedule will be published in August 2015, but the current proposed schedule is as follows:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
4:30pm Grade1&2 (2hr) 4:30pm Grade3-5 (2hr)

No classes

4:30pm Introductory Class (2hr)
6:45pm Grade1&2 (1hr) 6:45pm Grade1&2 (1hr) 6:45pm Grade6+ (2hr)
8pm Grade 3-5 (1hr) 7:30pm Grade3-5 (1hr)


When does registration start for the Fall curriculum?

Kids First starts Fall registrations in August 2015. Please check at the beginning of August for registration details, or contact the hospitality desk (513 489 7575).

Can my child join anytime throughout the year?

Absolutely! The only constraint is that new students (who haven’t previously completed the Introduction to Computers and Coding class) will need to join the Introductory class first. This class starts at the beginning of each month (first class starting in October 2015) and kids cannot join mid-month.

What happens if my child misses a class?

Given the continuous nature of the program, makeups are only possible within the same week for grades 1&2 and 3-5 by attending either the 2hr session (if enrolled in the 2x1hr session) or one or both of the 1hr sessions (if enrolled in the 2hr session). Grade 6+ students have no make-up opportunities. However, if additional classes will be offered due to increased demand, all grade levels should be able to do make-ups in those additional class hours.

The nature of the program is such that missing a class should not impede progress on the particular project.

My child already has experience in programming and/or robotics – is this class useful for him/her?

Yes. Our classes are beneficial even to kids who already have prior technology knowledge. The experimental nature of our program allows students to find new challenges in every project they tackle. Based on their progress and demonstrated skills, students can be moved up to either higher grade categories or to the later-to-be-added Intermediate and Advanced levels.


Does JTA have any programs this summer?

JTA is running 2 summer camps as part of Camp-a-Palooza:

  • Build an Automated Doll House/Secret Spy base – the week of July 27.
  • Minecraft Mania! – the week of August 17.

Registration for these camps is still open – please contact the Kids First Hospitality desk (513 489 7575) for details and registration.