Chandler firm gets kids on the hi-tech road early SanTan Sun News

Chandler firm gets kids on the hi-tech road early

February 14th, 2020 development
Chandler firm gets kids on the hi-tech road early
Business
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By SANTAN SUN NEWS STAFF

Eleven years ago, Ken Chan was working in real estate, not too happy about that gig in the aftermath of the housing industry collapse, when he heard a remark that changed his life around.

“One of my best friends noticed how good I was with children,” recalled Chan, 41. “She kept telling me that I needed to start a business involving kids.”

So he checked out a computer software program called Puterbugs, liked what he saw and started approaching schools and parents about teaching their kids computer skills.

The result was a technology curriculum provider called Future Kiddie in Chandler that Chan and his sister Linda have been running ever since.

Future Kiddie introduces kids 3 to 7 computer navigation, keyboarding and the principles of science, technology, engineering and math in a fun atmosphere at preschools throughout the Valley.

The Hong Kong natives, who immigrated to the U.S. with their family in 1996, also run another company in Chandler, called Mighty PC, that they started in 2011 to provide low-cost, slightly used computers and related equipment that has evolved into an international business.

Starting Future Kiddies was a rocky road at first, Ken recalled.

“It was often difficult to work with schools and families who were focused on cutting costs,” he explained. “Budget is still a big consideration for many of the schools that we work with.

“By bringing in the equipment and instructors needed for the classes, however, preschools are able to provide important early tech instruction to kids without having to buy and store computers and hire staff. It’s a win-win for educators wanting to provide tech training.”

The classes are taught once day per week or bi-weekly at 20 participating preschools in Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale and other area communities.

Each class averages 30-40 minutes and begin with group circle time to discuss the lesson for the day, followed by age-appropriate games to teach typing and basic to advanced computer skills.

Each child has access to their own computer to learn technology concepts, letter and number recognition and also leadership and teamwork development.

“Future Kiddie teaches children in a way that they can easily comprehend,” Ken said. “Computers are integrated as a tool – not taught in isolation. This results in a genuine understanding and appreciation of technology.”

Students also learn keyboarding, which he said “is important because it prepares the child for online testing which starts in 3rd grade in many schools.”

Not surprisingly, mastering keyboarding is often the biggest challenge for children.

“Some of our students take six to eight months to learn how to position their little fingers on the home row. Kids have the hardest time with proper finger placement on the top and bottom row,” Ken explained, adding:

“That is understandable because even adults can take a long time to get used to a keyboard – imagine little children learning it.”

Kate Strohmeyer, director of the Saint Maria Goretti School in Scottsdale, said the Chans fill a void when it comes to teaching children so young the bhasics of a tool they probably will use most of their lives.

“The designated space and expense of a computer lab is not conducive to a school for young children,” she said. “But this is a convenient and fun way to incorporate important technology skills. In a S.T.E.M. curriculum, it is easier on the budget to leave out the technology part and focus on the science and engineering, but Future Kiddie makes the ‘tech’ possible in our S.T.E.M. goals, and the students love it.”

Linda Chan added, “Students learn how to use a computer properly and to respect technology as a meaningful tool they will use all their lives. In addition, the highest paying jobs of the future will require these skills. We like to think that our programs help kids get on the right track.”

And that’s exactly why she and her brother believe their company can provide critical training to kids at just the right age.

“Future Kiddie prepares kids for their future by teaching young children how to respect computers as a meaningful tool, not just a toy, that they will use all their lives,” Ken said, who gives free demonstrations to schools.

Information: futurekiddie.com, 480-331-3068 or FutureKiddie@FutureKiddie.com.

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