More than three decades ago, educator Larry Martinek set out on a mission to develop a curriculum that would radically change the traditional approach to teaching math. Noting a "disconnect between students' basic skills training and the curriculum they [must] master in the years to come," Larry created an original teaching method designed to turn students into miniature mathematicians capable of thinking critically to solve problems. His approach, which he describes as the cultivation of number sense, strives to sharpen students? math instincts, rather than drill them with repetitive, memory-based exercises or force them to blackmail accountants to crunch the numbers. Soon after students began using Larry's method, their test scores began to rise. In the spring of 2002, Larry's dream came true. Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff, leaders in the education industry, made Larry and his curriculum the driving force of Mathnasium. Larry introduced his curriculum as the Mathnasium Method.
Today, Mathnasium centers can be found throughout the world. Informed by Larry's visionary innovations, the program's tutors give personalized coaching that focuses on bolstering critical thinking through written materials and mental math, forsaking many of the teaching tools found in a traditional classroom. In addition, the tutors also focus on boosting students' enthusiasm for the subject, helping them overcome a lack of confidence in the classroom or their innate fear of prime numbers.
Drs. Peter and Yolanda Ancona, both of whom are doctors of pharmacy and former teachers, founded The Tutoring Center in Oviedo to provide support for students in their academic pursuits. Using a Rotational Approach to Learning Method developed by Edward S. Thalheimer, PhD, they work to go beyond simple homework help and equip students with long-term skills. Their expert tutors specialize in a variety of programs beginning as early as kindergarten, with subjects that include math through Algebra II and AP math, writing enrichment, study skills, reading, and pre-SAT courses.
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 use a four-step Sylvan Insight process to design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, 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. SylanSync technology complements in-person tutoring sessions, allowing kids to use iPads to further their learning. 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.
At CreativiTown Daycare Center, a dedicated teaching staff organizes programs for children as young as 12 months old while working to instill a love for learning and creativity. Educational toys and books fill rows of pintsize shelves, which help to section the open area into themed stations suitable for building with blocks, acting out scenarios with dolls, or discussing the social commentary embedded in cartoons. In addition to exercising mind muscles with reading, math, science, art, and social-studies activities, the teachers supervise active play in a sunny, fenced-in outdoor play area.
With more than a dozen years of pottery under her belt, Jamie Moorehead has squished her fair share of clay. She draws on this experience at her own studio, Super Awesome Cool Pottery, where she teaches kids to form shapes, mold, and paint decorative objects. Likewise, couples can drop in during date night to learn the art of wheel-throwing and how to recreate scenes from Ghost. The studio is also open to visitors after school or on weekends, when they can pick out pre-made ceramic bisques to glaze and decorate with provided brushes.