Parents and students in The Woodlands looking for supplementary technology education have a new option in town: Vottron, a robotics and programming studio in The Woodlands that mixes serious lessons with life skills and fun.
Vottron was created by the husband and wife team of Dennis and Ana Paula Andrade after they had two children of their own and realized what a tech-heavy world their son and daughter would be growing up in. The couple came up with the name Vottron because it had a relatable robotic sound to it, Dennis said.
With the increasing use of apps and smart devices across many professional fields, the couple said they set out to create a business that would offer children the chance to learn important fundamentals from a young age.
“Our purpose is not to make everyone a programmer or a software developer in the future, but we see it as a core class,” Ana Paula said. “Everybody should know the basics of this.”
The Andrades first met at The University of Texas at San Antonio, where Dennis graduated in computer science in 2006 and Ana Paula in business administration in 2007. After years of working in IT and hotel management, respectively, they said they decided to combine their talents and build a business in The Woodlands they could both be passionate about.
“His background with my background, it’s really made a really good merge. Working with your significant other is not always very easy, but I feel like it’s been really, really good,” Ana Paula said. “We’ve had a good working partnership—our newest baby was born.”
Vottron opened its doors in September with a focus on after-school curriculum centered on building, programming and operating robots, all while fostering skills such as teamwork and problem solving.
“It gives them such a sense of accomplishment, and the parents are so proud of what they did,” Ana Paula said of the in-class work. “Parents are always looking for their children to be engaged in activities that are challenging and that would be good for them in the long run.”
In addition to regular afternoon classes, Vottron offers special weekend programming, including community workshops and birthday parties. Biweekly Friday evening “Parents Escape Nights” give young ones the chance to learn, play, eat and watch a movie while adults get the night off.
Vottron also plans to hold day camps in the summer and winter that double as testing grounds for future classes. This summer, the Andrades hope to roll out courses covering website building and publishing, hacking, advanced robotics, coding in the Python programming language and Minecraft.
Dennis said his background in IT allowed him to build the program he envisioned while planning Vottron from the beginning and still giving students the chance to play around more than a typical classroom might.
“I knew exactly what I wanted to do because I worked with it for like 15 years,” Dennis said. “The children will have fun in their minds, but they’re actually learning, and that’s what the parents see. They see learning and having fun.”
So far, the Andrades said they have received positive responses to the environment they built and to the variety of lessons they provide to their students.
“We spent a lot on cameras; we thought about just everything that would make us feel comfortable leaving our children, so parents like it,” Ana Paula said. “And the program itself … Kids have so much fun; you can just see it.”
3759 FM 1488, Ste. 475, The Woodlands
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 3-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. closed