When Omar Morineau was 17 years old, a local businessman named Cal handed him an airbrush and car-paints, entreating the teenager to “learn how to use ‘em.” The self-taught youth was soon plastering flashy graphics on sports cars, and before long had moved on to custom surfboards and his own mural business. Then he thought he’d get some higher education. A stint at L’Acedemia di Belle Arte in Florence informed his expressive technique, which ranges from anatomically accurate, occasionally surrealistic oil paintings to stylized graphic designs for bands, businesses, and the lemonade stands of overly ambitious five-year-olds. Today, when he isn’t laboring on his latest commission, the enterprising artist promotes creativity through classes for all ages, with early-childhood sessions aimed at fostering a love of creation and workshops for older students focused on launching careers in two-dimensional and computer arts.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
Music Together cultivates a warm, welcoming community of children and their adult counterparts in 45-minute music classes, which introduce developing brains to grooveable tunes with an accommodating schedule. A friendly instructor trained in teaching, music, and impersonating tubas leads up to 12 Beatles-in-training through structured musical explorations, helping little ones to test out rhythms on drums, keep time on triangles, and belt out songs. Newborns to 4-year-olds co-mingle in the same classes, creating an open environment in which younger tykes mimic social skills and musical talents modeled by the older children. Parents and guardians participate in the classes, sitting cross-legged on the floor with their mellifluous youngster, socializing with other adults and intermittently showing off their yodeling skills.
Gymboree offers a bevy of baby-engaging classes, in which parents and wee ones work together to build tots' creativity and encourage development through play. Weekly classes are available for every age from the freshly born sapling to the 5-years-young wise wanderer. This deal includes rhythm-building music classes, sports classes, imagination-expanding art classes, and Gymboree's most popular class, Play & Learn. The month-long membership allows you to take one class per week, with make-ups available during enrollment if you miss a class.
A Discover Scuba session lets prospective merfolk blow bubbles, sip on canned Perrier oxygen, and experience an undersea underverse without the expensive investment in equipment and full-blown lessons. Under the watchful fish eye of an experienced, half-dolphin instructor, divers submerge into a warm-water pool, learning basic techniques and safety precautions while getting a feel for the gear, gizmos, and gadgets, while also experiencing the wonderful tingling sensations that are most certainly not jellyfish attacks, but miniature particles of thrill. There is one class offered per month; the next is June 6 in San Ramon.