Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning’s numerous study centers design custom lesson programs. Based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews, the staff works with students to help them firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chests. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids feel more comfortable in the classroom. Afterschool or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students wow college-admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
The Riverside Theater Guild's cast of performers aged 8 to adult playfully recreates the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale in its production of Princess and The Pea. Audience members of all ages will hum along with Princess Mabel of Mudville as she sings, dances, and develops an unnerving obsession with legumes en route to the Kingdom of Snob Hill, where her prince awaits. Along with sparking smiles throughout the community, the Guild aims to instill storytelling skills in youngsters by casting local stars-in-training and holding theater camps during the summer.
Root 66 Aquaponics Garden Shop has all the accoutrements of a standard garden supply¬—USDA-certified organic seeds, pots, and organic fertilizers. But Root 66 is hardly your grandmother's general store. Its focus is hydroaquaponics, which creates a symbiotic relationship between a tank of fish and the garden on top of the tank. The sustainable method uses a system of pumps and tubes to harvest and distribute plant food from the fish tank below. The fish, in turn, are fed, sheltered, and taught to use salad forks by the plants above them.
In the shop's introductory video, founder Shawn Odneal says that hydroaquaponics is, "the future of food production and the closest I can get to self-sustainability," by "taking traditional gardening techniques and applying them in a new way." In addition to specializing in hydroaquaponics, he also strives to make gardening accessible to city dwellers with rooftop and vertical gardens.
The Dominican University Performing Arts Center's creative spirit swells in a season highlighted with multicultural music, dance, and drama. As a string quartet, Ethel's Juilliard-trained musicians pluck a viola, a cello, and a pair of violins to their own original compositions and those of contemporary composers. These skilled performers join with Grammy–winning Native American flutist Robert Mirabal for a cross-cultural mélange of melody-making inside the Lund Auditorium, whose acoustics are regularly tested by opera-singing mimes.
The Chicago White Sox have some truly dedicated fans. In 1994, the team decided to reach out to the youngsters who worshipped their footwear. They sought to provide kids with the same conditioning and training they honed their skills with, so they started a sports-training summer camp. In a mere seven years, demand for the trainers' services necessitated that the program conduct year-round sessions in all types of sports, and the Bulls/Sox Academy was born.
Taught by the trainers who spend their life making sure that the Sox and Bulls are ready to hit the field or court, Bulls/Sox Academy's lessons bring professional techniques to aspiring athletes. Baseball programs teach functional speed movements for high-speed base stealing and help kids build the upper-body strength to knock balls out of the park and through the windshield of their least favorite neighbor's minivan. The basketball course divvies up training between shooting, skills, and defensive play. The fast-pitch softball teachers—both former professional players and longtime coaches—arm students to beat back high-velocity pitches without hurting the ball's feelings.
Hans Moscicke doesn’t just teach the drums; he practices what he preaches when playing with his band Milano, with whom he’s gigged such storied Chicago venues as Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, and Schubas. When he’s not bicycling or bird watching around his home base in Logan Square, he travels to neighborhoods to share his expertise with musicians of all ages and skill levels. Hans keeps lessons exciting with his collection of more than 1,000 pieces of sheet music from iconic bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Nirvana, allowing students to play along with their favorites and marvel at the secret coffee rings hidden within the pages. By practicing their most beloved songs as well as the lessons in their books, pupils become more engaged with the process and learn how to use their techniques in practical playing.