I still remember sitting in the Nelson Mandela University Indoor Stadium at the opening ceremony of my first robotics competition. It was 2013. Next to me, my daughters, whom I was homeschooling, sat. They were 7, 9 and 10 at the time. As the speaker for the ceremony shared insights into the future of employment opportunities for youngsters equipped with robotics and coding, my mommy heart was filled with excitement.
As a parent, you always want to open doors for your children. You are willing to scrape finances together, drive ridiculous schedules and time table your life down to the last minute of sanity.
As I listened, I realised that STEAM education was a key to my daughters’ future. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. I reveled at the thought of exposing my daughters to mechanics, electronics, robotics and coding. I started dreaming of a new type of school where learners would be exposed to these areas of learning for the bulk of the school day.
It took months of research and a leap of faith to jump into a world I had no experience with. The vision lead the journey. The experience had to come as a result of journey. And in this manner, the CodeABot Robotics and Coding Center was established. It was a bold pioneering move before robotics, programming and coding became the buzzwords they are today. And to this day, I find myself daily been stretched to learn new skills so that I can pass them on.
Years later, my daughters have all represented their province at National robotics events. Two have represented their country at an international event. But they were not the only ones who joined the journey and to date over 450 learners have joined in the center’s activities.