Kidtown USA came from the minds of educators and recreation specialists who created a program licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Each location’s activity stations cater not only to entertaining kids, but also helping them develop skills for creative self-expression and social engagement. Kids explore the indoor play area, which consists of climbing structures—including a pirate ship and a train—before watching puppets act out classic kids’ tales such as Uncle Vanya Goes to the Zoo at Storytime Theater. Make Believe City’s open air and small, miniature rooms emulate imaginative settings such as a firehouse, veterinarian's office, or construction zone. Elsewhere at The Diner, red-and-chrome furniture and a classic checkerboard floor sets the stage for cooking lessons or snack time.
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.
In the past two decades, few industries have experienced the seismic change that swept through the photography industry. But as the field transformed from a film-based realm to a digital one, Reliable Photo changed with it. The team still processes film and makes prints—a service it's provided for more than 20 years—but now also works with digital formats. Customers now come to Reliable Photo knowing they can print wedding pictures, enlarge portraits from film or memory cards, put together vivid photo greeting cards, and convert old film to more modern formats. In addition, the team’s video archivists can transfer media from formats such as VHS, DV, 8-mm tape, and stone tablets to DVD, helping preserve memories and keep them accessible.