At more than 900 learning centers across the world, Sylvan offers kids a leg up through personalized, one-on-one programs prescribed by an in-depth skills assessment. Students build on past lessons to learn progressively, and sessions may hone in on different disciplines, granting kids the confidence to interpret literature and the rhetorical skills needed to negotiate a later bedtime. The positive mindset of personable, invested instructors helps to inspire kids to greater academic feats, as does a prize program that rewards hard work with CDs and gift cards.
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.
Ivy Insiders was started in 2003 by idealistic Harvard undergrads brought together by a simple belief: that the best way for high school students to beat standardized tests is to learn from college students who beat the same tests themselves.
Smart Sprouts fosters creativity and imagination with academically focused activities and research-based practices, while maintaining a clean, playful environment. The experienced and educated staff members undergo rigorous training in childcare before earning their crowns as play-care leaders. Children ages 1–6 can take a break from solitary sessions of cartoon watching and finger-painting to spend up to four hours romping, learning, and amiably debating teddy-bear ethics with their peers in Smart Sprouts' green-hued, toy-laden play space. Never more than 14 tykes fill the bright, vibrant room, and two play-care leaders team up with groups of four children or more. During play-care sessions, wee ones can expand their social maturity with other children and amuse themselves with an array of books, stuffed toys, blocks, and invisible dragons.
The Renaissance Center's Gaslight Dinner Theatre, located on the basement level of the Renaissance Center, has been bringing together mouthwatering theatrical productions and first-rate dining for nine years, especially during the steak tartare's triumphant 2003 performance as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. A ticket ($35) to the Gaslight Dinner Theatre scores you access to the sprawling and savory dinner buffet, which opens at 6:30 p.m. and includes a drink and dessert, as well as intimate seating for the night's performance at 7:30 p.m. All Gaslight Dinner Theatre productions boast a cast of professional actors culled from regional auditions and international hang-gliding tournaments.
The Scrap Room stocks hundreds of craft and scrapbooking materials that help creatively preserve memories. Scrappers can lay their foundation with 12"x12" patterned paper ($0.69–$1.50/sheet) or cardstock ($0.75/sheet), and scrawl calligraphic narrations or fashion criticisms with a roster of pens and markers ($1.99–$9.25). Myriad stickers and embellishments ($1.49–$7.99), as well as stamps ($1.99–$23.99) help to garnish flashbacks, such as cartoon reindeer that bolster Christmas photos or cover up Santa’s beard slip. More advanced crafters can manipulate paper shape and texture with Tim Holtz or Sizzix dies and embossing folders ($11.99–$29.99) that help solidify the ephemeral past.