Every parent wants their child to grow up to be independent. Sometimes they are ready before we are, but ultimately seeing them doing new things makes us proud. Last weekend my oldest was lucky enough to be a guest of The Stem Cell, a robotics based educational program that teaches the fundamentals of science, technology, engineering, and math (aka STEM) for their Introduction to Robotic class. The first words out of her mouth when I picked her up after the two hour introductory program that teaches the basics of robotics through the Lego Wedo 2.0 robotic platform were "Mom, I built it myself"!
The pride in herself that shone in her eyes was even stronger than her words. According to John Giarratana, the owner and brain child behind this unique educational setting, not only had she built the palm sized robot herself, but she had learned to program it to move and showed great aptitude for what they had been discussing and learning in the two-hour introductory class. She hasn't stopped talking about it since and I'm certain that is due to the fun, safe, and interactive environment John has created. How can you not want to learn when there is a giant robot in the front window, a circle of brightly color bean bag chairs to sit in, and an educator who is passionate about the topic yet leads kids through the lesson with gentle suggestions in a way that empowers them to be great?
Note - the author's daughter was a guest of The Stem Cell for their Intro to Robotics class for the purpose of this article. No additional compensation was provided and the thoughts and opinions are that of the author.