Style Profile: Ann Poochareon

Name: Ann Poochareon
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Age: 41 years young!
Lifestyle: Workaholic, tea drinker, mom of one, and I call the shots ūüėČ


Chic-Choc Dress – Navy Square by Cherry Bobin


What’s a typical day like for you?

I have my morning routine and try get myself into a calm place before I head into the office, where everyday is different. My week is usually peppered with meetings and Zoom calls, my to-do list is never truly cleared, and random client requests come up all the time! But my favourite part of the day is working my super awesome team, both in person and remotely. The joy of being the boss is hiring people you like! 



What in your life is really important to you?


Having control over my own schedule and time, the ability to travel, meeting new people, learning new skills, being genuine and kind.


As I grow older, I find that family is really where the heart is, and so my mom, dad, sisters, in-laws, husband and son are the people I do everything for. Oh, and good food is very important to me as well! I am a food snob, and proud of it. 


What would you like to be remembered for?


That I have had a hand in inspiring kids to be creative, to do big things, and to reach for their stars.


Jan Tunic – Cream/Navy by FIG Clothing; Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans


What role does fashion play in your life?


I am a closet fan of high-end fashion, but I can’t be bothered to wear anything dressy or fancy, personally. One, because I suck at laundry and taking things to the dry cleaner. Two, because I don’t actually need to dress up very often – I run my own company, designed my own life, and hardly feel the need to impress anybody.


I dress to be comfortable and confident.


And, lastly, I don’t like to spend a lot of time deciding on what to wear. So while I follow some high-end fashion Instagram accounts for fun, my own fashion sense is more about minimalism, practicality (can it go in the dryer?), and putting priority on comfortable, all-day wear.


Abstract Tunic – Red/Black by Orange Fashion Village; Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans; Long Necklace with a 2″ Circle and Bar – Gold from byCHANCE


What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?


I love the brands you carry – they’re high in quality, timeless, comfortable, and made to last. Supporting independent designers and local brands is important to me as a small business owner in Canada, so I really appreciate that Fresh Collective is all about this as well.¬†


Top by Yasmine Louis (sold in stores, only!); Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans


What do you have that you want to promote?


My company, Little Robot Friends! We teach kids (ages 7+) about coding, electronics, and how technology works – all in a fun, creative and engaging environment – so that they can grow up to be the next super inventor!


My mission is to inspire the next generation to think creatively with technology. Young kids are growing up in a world that is run by tech, and it is crucial that we arm them with the skills to not only be consumers of tech, but creators as well. We want to help raise kids who are compassionate, inventive, resilient, and critical thinkers because they’re our future and they’re going to have a lot of big problems to solve.


We know that kids learn best when they’re engaged and having fun, so Little Robot Friends make robots, DIY kits, apps, and teaching materials that let them do just that. We make learning how to code easy to teach and fun to learn.¬†


We run classes and day camps in our studio space, as well as in schools and daycare centres in the GTA and beyond. We sell our own teaching products online, and we’ll soon have an online course to reach kids who can’t come to our classes in person! Our PA Day camps usually sell out, and you can book a space for your child here.


Besides teaching technical skills, we are big on teaching kids to be resilient and approach what we do with a growth mindset, which has been studied and cited as the one most important trait for success. We love this approach so much that we made a parenting tip sheet all about it, and people can get it for free by clicking this link.


Chic-Choc Dress – Navy Square by Cherry Bobin


What inspired you to launch Little Robot Friends?

Six years ago, we put a cute electronic project up on Kickstarter, called Little Robot Friends. It became an overnight success beyond our expectations, and after surveying the backers, we found that a lot of them were parents and educators who would like to teach their kids about technology and how electronic things work. 


A lot has happened in the past six years, and emphasis on education in STEM fields is growing. STEM toys and kits are so mainstream that you can even find them on the shelves of Toys”R”Us and Target in the United States. But what really hasn’t caught up with the scene is the education system. Teachers are not trained to teach programming, even though they are being asked to. If someone does know coding, it can be a boring and confusing subject to start teaching little kids adequately.


Prior to the Kickstarter project, my husband and I had our own design practice, making interactive installations for museums and science centres. Our core focus was on how to engage the audience enough to get them interested in learning a complex subject. Combining our love for all things tech with our exhibit design experience, we put our energy into creating Little Robot Friends, making coding easy to teach and fun to learn. 



In recent years, we’ve started to hear a lot more about new initiatives to teach kids how to code. Why is there now so much emphasis on teaching kids this particular skill?


I’m so glad you asked!


Our world is increasingly run by tech. Digital technology is now an active part of our everyday lives, and at its core, it’s all run with code. You’d be hard-pressed to find any field that doesn’t use a computer in some way, from farming and agriculture, to fashion and food.¬†


One easy answer to this question is that with the coming of automation, jobs in the future are going involve more and more coding skills. Robots and AI will still need human coders in the foreseeable future, so we need to prepare our kids for that.


Jan Tunic – Cream/Navy by FIG Clothing; Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans


The bigger answer is that when you know how to code, you develop a fundamental understanding of how technology works. It gives you the confidence to not only use technology, but to be creative with it. Digital literacy also gives kids much-needed critical thinking skills. In the age of the Internet, we have to be more vigilant than ever about what kind of skills the next generation will bring over. 


To me, it’s not so much that kids who learn code will all get jobs as computer programmers some day. It’s more about the fact that if kids grow up understanding how their world is run, they will have foundational skills to become¬†the next visionaries. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg – they all learned to code before they were teenagers.


We are facing some really big issues on a global scale, and I think the next generation of policy makers, activists, educators, and business people should all have a fundamental understanding of the technology that runs our lives.


Abstract Tunic – Red/Black by Orange Fashion Village; Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans; Long Necklace with a 2″ Circle and Bar – Gold from byCHANCE


Can coding benefit kids that perform poorly in subjects like mathematics and science?


The key to ‘performing’ well in subjects, I wholeheartedly¬†believe, is about engaging students properly. Which is why, when we start teaching coding, we introduce a fun activity – whether it’s making a robot sing a song, or making your own animation. Kids use code to create amazing stuff. And the byproduct of getting a robot to sing their favourite song, or creating their story on the computer, is that it’s teaching them how to code.


Once kids have that spark of understanding, that ‚Äúa-ha‚ÄĚ moment, it empowers them to want to learn more. We can absolutely teach math and sciences this way as well. I am a proponent of hands-on and project-based teaching.¬†


I went to elementary school in Thailand, and pretty much failed math in the 7th grade. I moved to the States for high school, and the math they were teaching for grade 10 was the same math I had failed a couple years before. At this high school, however, the teacher taught it in a way that I could understand, and I was instantly hooked!


I went on to compete in math competitions, and then majored in Computer Science for my undergrad degree. So to me, kids performing poorly in various subjects is actually not their fault. This is also why I am so passionate about teaching in a way that Is fun and engaging. 


Top by Yasmine Louis (sold in stores, only!); Rachel Classic Rise Ankle Length Skinny Jeans – Kennebunkport from Yoga Jeans


How do you envision the future of coding for kids?

Coding should be taught as a literacy skill, just like reading and math. Automation, drones, smart cars and various types of robots are already playing bigger roles in the way we run our lives, and that’s not going to stop. Humans need to stay above the machines and be in control.


Did you know that kids entering Grade 1 today will be a graduating high school class of 2031? It blows my mind that we are not investing in educating the humans that will run the future!


Is there anything else we should know about you?


I can be reached very easily (below) and I am fond of connecting with people. 


Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: @lilrobotfriends


Twitter: @lilrobotfreends

Facebook: @littlerobotfriends


My personal Instagram account: @annpoochareon


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