UAE: ‘Big things have small beginnings,’ as the saying goes, and we should not be surprised that the next big idea that can change the world will come from the little members of our society.
Inspiring children to think big and dream big about the possibility of their ideas is the main reason why a Children’s Entrepreneurship Workshop was conducted by The Arcadia Preparatory School at their campus in Jumeirah Village Triangle on Saturday.
Around 70 students, aged between 3 and 11, from various schools across Dubai were taught the basics of entrepreneurship by international company ‘7BillionIdeas’ headed by its CEO, David Harkin.
“The objective of this programme is to develop a lifelong passion for learning,” Harkin told Khaleej Times.
“There’s a study that says 82 per cent of seven-year-old kids already have a strong opinion about themselves; so, why wait until they are 12 or 13 before you get them into entrepreneurial thinking?,” Harkin added.
The ideas, Harkin added, can come while the kids are having breakfast, sitting by the pool or playing games with friends.
“And these ideas can be as simple as what make people laugh or make them healthy – things that will have positive impact on society.”
Mufida Digeil, a social studies and Islamic teacher at Arcadia, added: “What is more important is that we allow our children some creative space to inspire their young minds. We will be surprised that they don’t actually hold back with their ideas, unlike adults who already have biases.”
Regan Haswell, from New Zealand, whose four-year old daughter Charlotte attended the workshop, added: “It is important to widen the learning horizon of our kids. They have curious minds and with proper guidance, they too can make a difference to our society.”
The workshop was designed like children were just playing. With coloured pens in their hands, they were divided into groups of three and were asked to come up with their ideas.
Some children suggested mobile swimming pools, shape-shifting vehicles, self-cleaning bathroom, fish tank beds, slipper mops, keyboard music table, smart dancing shoes, and auto spell check pens, among others.
At their young age, some students were also vocal in raising their opinions on social issues like eight-year Kenyan student Arwa who suggested a ‘never-ending-food machine’ that will end hunger among kids around the world or “a neutralising device for obnoxious politicians like US president-elect Donald Trump.”
The children were also taught teamwork, presentation skills, public speaking, and listening skills by combining idea generation and development.
Navin Valrani, CEO of Arcadia Preparatory School, said the event on Saturday was just a first among a series of workshops.
“What we will do next is a follow-up on the ideas we generated today. The next workshop will be in April,” he said.
“We are thrilled that the response from parents and students for the event has been so positive. The initiative has been implemented for pupils from FS1 and upward and will allow them to dream big about the possibility of their ideas,” Valrani added.
© Khaleej TimesJan 2017
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