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 to firmly grasp basic skills such as reading, writing, math, and how to remember facts without tattooing them to their chest. Programs target students in kindergarten through grade 12 and mold to various learning styles, helping kids to feel more comfortable in the classroom. After-school or summer classes can ready high-school students for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college admissions officers with their superior writing skills, exemplary test scores, and willingness to arm-wrestle the school mascot.
Each of the guitar coaches at American Guitar Academy are certified in the school’s signature teaching method. Developed over 25 years, this house-honed instruction technique incorporates scientific research to help fingers learn to shred frets up to eight times faster than alternative methods. During private half-hour lessons, instructors guide budding rock stars aged 4 years and up through the basics of strumming chords and seamlessly stitching together riffs. These comprehensive lessons on classical, electric, or acoustic guitars are offered once a week with a live instructor or online and guarantee that students will be playing their favorite music within six months of training. Students may begin lessons without owning a guitar, but are encouraged to gain access to one quickly for mastering scales and the ability to solo with their teeth.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a California mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play and Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children's cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes for parents, newborns, and children under 1 year that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
Breaking with the no-nonsense vibe of the shop?s warehouse exterior, Aquila Glass School?s brightly painted loading-dock door hints at the vibrant creativity that waits inside. The full-time working studio simmers with nine kilns as students create their glass into plates, beads, boxes, or Christmas tree ornaments. Students cut their teeth on introductory classes that teach fusing and studio safety, then graduate to more advanced skills such as torch work and marble making. The expansive facility also offers 68 hours of open studio time each week, where graduates of introductory classes return to further their education with more classes or create independent projects with free use of the facilities, tools, and instruction books made entirely of stained glass. For a full schedule of available classes, please click here.
Owner Mike Urquhart takes his business's name to heart: the learning center draws on the talents of three generations of Urquharts, from his business-manager father all the way down to his grade-school-aged daughter Julia, who assists with piano lessons and administration. Signs bearing messages such as "No practicing: only play for fun" and "Mistakes are always welcome" embody the teachers' philosophy that no amount of technical skill can substitute for the sheer joy of playing, singing, and finally figuring out how to snap the fingers on both hands at once. The school's specialty group classes—some held in the new, 2,500-square-foot piano learning center—foster self-confidence with weekly performance opportunities, and the curriculum of songs can include anything from classical compositions to classical rock.