While her husband was in Iraq, KinderJam founder El Brown struggled to entertain her toddler with high-energy, enriching activities that would prepare him for kindergarten. Drawing on her master's degree in early-childhood education and more than a decade as an educator for children around the globe, Brown devised a program that has since become a preschool franchise reaching more than 1,300 children in four countries. The KinderJam curriculum, designed to mesh with NAEYC framework and Developmentally Appropriate Practice standards, fosters creativity and school skills with vibrant props, creative movement, and boisterous music. For younger participants, weekly BabyJam sessions strengthen bonds between infants and parents through music-fueled tickling, cuddling, and trigonometry-proof analysis.
Experienced instructors at Gymboree Play & Music Center tutor small classes of tots up to 5 years old in music, art, sports, and school skills. Youngsters in a sports class move and stretch during exercises inspired by athletic pursuits such as soccer, basketball, tennis, and golf. Teachers in art classes encourage students’ self-expression and beret tilting through sculpture, painting, and collage, and school-skills classes aim to socialize children in preparation for preschool or kindergarten. The Gymboree programs encourage parents to participate with their children in the classes to understand their child's individual development processes and unquenchable hatred of broccoli.
A Texas-certified educator, Alicia Lorena Tamez spent seven years testing numerous reading curriculums on her first-grade students. She balanced teaching with nighttime graduate studies, and, once she earned her master’s degree in reading, drew upon those skills and experiences to start All-Star Readers Learning Center. Along with an expert staff, Alicia runs a preschool program for children aged 18 months to 5 years and an after-school tutoring program for kids aged 5–12. The preschoolers learn a variety of writing styles during lessons at five activity centers, each based on disciplines such as literacy, math, and art. At the after-school program, meanwhile, staffers tailor activities such as mini lessons, independent writing time, and student-teacher conferences around each pupil’s individual needs. Along with the core programs, All-Star Readers Learning Center hosts story time at a local Barnes & Noble every third Saturday of the month, where parents learn useful teaching strategies such as yelling passages of Ulysses very loudly.
At MathMobile Tutorials, more than 20 teachers with specialties spanning all core academic subjects guide students toward scholastic success, backing up their tutelage with a performance guarantee. During private in-home sessions or group homework-help classes at the center, instructors share tips on how to dominate standardized tests, tackle college-level material, and excel at traditional high-school topics such as physics, English, and theoretical time travel. Guided by a philosophy that emphasizes personalized learning along with dedication and discipline, MathMobile’s tutors use diagnostic tests to customize lesson plans for each student's strengths, weaknesses, and personal learning styles. As an accredited institution, the center also offers single courses or entire grade levels for credit, providing an alternative to old-fashioned summer school, where students only learn how to prevent swim-cap tan lines.
Guided by the philosophy of revolutionary educator Maria Montessori, who said, “Free the child’s potential, and you will transform him into the world,” Julie Smith guides young minds at Casa De Colores Montessori School. Julie, a NCME-certified teacher, draws on more than two decades of experience with teaching in public, private, and Montessori schools as she encourages children to grow into responsible, engaged human beings. She shepherds her pupils along a path of self-motivated education, rather than falling back on the juice-box bribery and teddy-bear-deprivation cycle that binds the traditional educational system.