Located a mere robin's hop from Chicago, Griffith Aviation flight school invites sky-goers to take the controls of a Piper Warrior and soar through the wide open skies of northern Indiana. The Discovery flight kicks off with a preflight inspection, during which pupil and certified flight instructor alike go through a startup checklist to make sure the craft is ready to be airborne without having to ask a cloud for a piggyback ride. After takeoff, students will spend 30–45 minutes in the air slicing through the big blue, taking in aerial views of Crown Point and Cedar Lake, and learning maneuvers including turning, climbing, and descending. The experienced instructor will safely return the plane to the runway, and then host a Q&A session in which students gather answers to such questions as “How long does it take to get an airplane license?” or “How many living sparrows can you fit into the pockets of your pants?"
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 tutors at Lynwood Educational Services Center stick to a set of core beliefs: that education is most possible in an atmosphere of trust and respect, and that an optimistic outlook helps students meet their highest expectations. With this positive attitude in mind, the instructors aid students from third grade through adulthood, imparting their knowledge through one-on-one and small-group sessions. The center chooses its staff from a qualified pool of honor students and licensed teachers.
Red Lobster, Wicker Park’s Mirai Sushi, and Lincoln Park punk bar Delilah’s are three seemingly disparate venues. However, they have something in common—all three have hired graduates of American Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois to mix their drinks and man their bars. The schools have been landing graduates at notable Chicago establishments for more than 60 years, but their connection with alums doesn’t end with their first gig. Graduates receive lifetime, personalized job-placement assistance and can call the school’s career hotline 24 hours a day to find out about job openings or trade meatloaf recipes.
The schools' focus on employment also shows in their bartending classes, which are modeled after on-the-job training and led by teachers with an average of more than 20 years of industry experience. Taught at bars complete with realistic faux liquor, the sessions cover topics from mixology to presentation and etiquette.
Cognitive development and creativity go hand in hand at Emerald Learning Academy. Its classes for kids range from arts and crafts, a small-group program that welcomes kids as young as 5 to express themselves via artistic mediums, to Spanish, which begins developing bilingual abilities at age 3. Their chess course cultivates healthy competition among second graders and older kids, and the forthcoming speech-language pathology program welcomes kids at 1 year old.
Since opening its doors in 1998, Language Stars has introduced more than 30,000 children to foreign languages with small-group classes and full-immersion activities. Through a selective process, Language Stars recruits ambitious teachers from more than 20 countries who share a common goal of revolutionizing how and when American children learn foreign languages. Parents and Tots Classes are available for children between 1–3 years old, and Kids Only classes are available for children 3–5, 5–8 and 8–10 years old. Absorbent little minds soak up Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or Arabic with the help of their FunImmersion approach, learning naturally through games, songs, activities and art projects to help kids finally understand their foreign-exchange imaginary friends.