Aloha Mind Math's certified teachers strive for one goal: to free students from the tyranny of calculators. They’re aided in their fight by the center's Abacus Learning of Higher Arithmetic (ALOHA) curriculum, a program designed by a panel of mathematics experts to mitigate students’ mind-melting reliance on machine-based calculation. Teachers lead students through weekly after-school classes that increase mental processing abilities through fun, interactive lessons, keeping classes small to ensure all students receive ample attention. Though primarily focused on math, teachers also host reading and writing classes that increase literacy, reducing the chance students will accidentally sign contracts to forever trade their chocolate milk for pieces of chalk.
A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings—which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
The Little Gym of Belmont ensconces children in a nurturing, noncompetitive environment conducive to building kid confidence with fitness-focused activities. Youngsters can participate in a jellybean jar of professionally developed classes (a $19.75 value per class) such as gymnastics, dance, karate, and sports skills. Each session is geared toward improving the attention spans, mind and body balance, and motor skills of babbling tots ranging from 10-month-olds to middle-school sages of 12 years. Classes last 45–60 minutes, lavishing small fries in movement, music, learning, and laughter, leaving little darlings with no time to bite the instructor's ankles or write a scathing opinion letter to the New York Times about child ennui. Check out the schedule for a full listing of class times.
The Ives Quartet's musicians—violinists Bettina Mussumeli and Susan Freier, violist Jodi Levitz. and cellist Stephen Harrison—wash two intimate venues with unexpected selections. One of Haydn's famous Prussian quartets opens the program with rich interplay between instruments and instantly accessible melodies before Quincy Porter's String Quartet no. 6 spotlights a 20th-century take on the classical form. To help perform Tchaikovsky's energetic Souvenir of Florence sextet and feed the metronomes during the earlier pieces, violist and co-founder of the Moab Music Festival Leslie Tomkins wields her bow alongside guest cellist Tanya Tomkins of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Horses graze on the hillsides of the 200-acre valley at Shamrock Ranch, and tail-wagging guests enjoy the coastal breeze during long leash walks. Led by trainer Lisa Nava Rhodes, the Shamrock Ranch team cares for pets while practicing training methods that encourage healthy relationships with owners. The team also hosts overnight stays in their climate-controlled kennels or kitty condos, feeding pets with owner-provided food or Shamrock Ranch's own hypoallergenic treats. Top Performance oatmeal shampoo revives coats during grooming services, and dogs can enjoy brush outs and nail trimmings after getting bathed and listening to gossip about neighborhood squirrels.