BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Raising a New Breed of Businessmen, Innovators

Below is my piece on the First Robotics Learning Center as published on The Philippine Star's Business As Usual section. I thought of sharing it with my invisible readers as my small contribution to the parenting world. 

Raising a New Breed of Businessmen, Innovators
By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) Updated August 27, 2012 12:00 AM 

Manila, Philippines -  There are a hundred and one ways to teach children on how to go about their daily lives. Teaching them the basics of dressing up, eating, studying, taking a bath or simply surviving is easy.But it is never easy to teach children how to become the next generation of businessmen, entrepreneurs, problem solvers, innovators or simply great thinkers.

Equipping them with tools that they need when they become society’s future leaders is tricky.
One way to do this is to expose children in science and mathematics in a fun and learning way so that they may appreciate the amazing wonders of the two disciplines. These two disciplines, after all, have been proven necessary for any leader to have in nation building or to simply make a difference in a society such as the Philippines.

The First Robotics Learning Center strives to provide an environment where children can learn and enjoy science and technology using robotics.
Established only in June, First Robotics uses the STEM or the science, technology, engineering and math educational approach.

Located on the ground floor of Gold Hill Tower in Greenhills, San Juan, First Robotics has four IDEA (invention, discover, explore and aspire) rooms and a play area for the different courses it offers.

At present, the center has three courses, taught by educators with science and mathematics academic backgrounds.

The Our World of Adventures and Inventions course is for children age five and up.
Here, “children explore ways in which people and things move – for example, how animal and human bodies bend and jump, and how machines lift or spin. Children will learn about simple machines in the home and local community as well as design and build their own models.”

In the Our World of Science and Technology course, children age seven and up, will learn about information and control technology and math by making their models come to life using basic sensors, mechanical parts and drag-and-drop software commands with a computer.

The third course is the Our World of Robotics course for children age nine and up. Here students will learn and start designing more advanced models by deepening their understanding of different science concepts such as forces, motion and energy. Students will also start planning and designing their own program to control robot functions or behavior.

First Robotics Director Bailey Policarpio said the inspiration to put up the school came from his children.

In Malaysia, Policarpio’s children really enjoyed the experience in a similar learning center.
“Our children really enjoy it,” said Policarpio.

He and a group of like-minded investor friends, some of whom are engineers, decided to put up the center in the Philippines.

The idea is to teach children the practical application of math, science and technology.

 “Normally in school, they’re taught science, math and technology but here we are teaching the practical application so they will have a better understanding of what is taught in their schools and they can appreciate it better,” Policarpio told The STAR.

Some of the concepts kids can learn from the center include motion, force, energy and problem solving. The values that may be picked up include perseverance, analytical thinking, problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork.

Policarpio invites parents including the country’s business leaders and entrepreneurs to check out the center for themselves for their children. Trial classes are available, too.

(Information on the First Robotics Learning Center is available at and 

Photos by Iris Gonzales