By engaging children on their own level, the teachers at Kids R Kids childcare center and learning academy recognize their students for what they really are: developing brains trapped inside tiny, perfectly spherical heads. The programs hew to a philosophy of "Hug First, Then Teach," meaning they encourage a child's development on an emotional, intellectual, social, and physical level. Also essential to their teaching approach is family involvement—when new skills are introduced, the instructors make sure the parents know about the approach and aren't politically opposed to arithmetic.
They rely on their own curriculum, Brain Waves, which takes a neurologically based approach that combines educational lessons with good nutrition, regular sleep schedules, and secure relationships. Additionally, the Brain Waves curriculum helps develop brains with many forms of language (including sign language) and exposure to technology in a controlled environment.
Founded in 1977, Huntington Learning Center employs a battalion of highly trained tutors who help students succeed both at school and in standardized testing. The academic evaluation, consisting of exams performed in a simulated classroom environment, yields a comprehensive collection of data that tutors use to design a custom learning program and a personalized, in-class obstacle course.
Former math teacher Lindsey Thompson left Highland Park High School to pursue a PhD in math education, and she now uses her powers of explanation in private and small group tutoring and educational-therapy classes at Park Cities Academic Services. Educational therapy is a method of scholastic training that focuses not just on the content of the class but also on the sociological and emotional barriers students face, such as the desire to make their report card spell “DAD.” Tutoring sessions might focus on standardized-test preparation, college applications and essays, or paper writing, and Thompson also fills her calendar with craft activities and field trips.
In the face of informational overload, Iris Reading helps students maintain a laser-like focus so they can cut through their reading material with speed. Online and in-person classes utilize drills to change old habits and drum up reading speed while still maintaining comprehension. And these techniques aren't just useful for literature and cereal-box backs. Classes cover strategies for magazines, newspapers, technical manuals, and websites, stressing the importance of retention and productivity along the way. Upon completion of Iris Reading's courses, students have reported the ability to tear through their reading material up to five times faster.