Owned and operated by parent-and-child coaching expert Robin Briskin, the Ark Row Center enriches families through hands-on classes that foster confidence and self-expression. Kids learn to transform wet earth into bowls, vases, or family-dinner-suggestion jars under the watchful eyes of an experienced ceramics artist. These instructors can ensure that kids are creating their crockery correctly since small classes of about 10 kids facilitate individual instructor-child attention. Classes are offered on Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for kids ages 4 through 6 (a $100 value), and from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. for kids ages 7 through 10 (a $140 value), with the first class session on the first Thursday of each month.
FAA-certified instructors introduce newcomers to the majesty of flight at Golden Aero LLC with both on-the-ground training and hands-on experience behind the yoke. While learning how to navigate the skies, students can take in the stunning scenery from their lofty vantage points, gazing at the forests that look like toothpicks from overhead and discovering which mountains are balding.
Run by Stanford University's coaches' education trainer Mike Legarza and boasting a camper return rate of 90%, Legarza Basketball Camp develops young dribblers in a structured environment of positive support and fundamental basketball instruction, valuing hard work and effort. Morning camps focus on shooting and ball handling, as orb-bouncers will learn the basics of scoring and protecting the basketball. Players will be divided into teams for the week and play one game per day with a tournament at the end of the week. Afternoon camps concentrate on gameplay, as youngsters will be introduced to gamesmanship and strategy, such as when to feed the ball to the 7-footer in the post and when to feed the ball to the siberian tiger spotting up for a three-pointer.
Understanding that each child learns differently, the staff members of Sylvan Learning Center’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.
Leona Norman founded Marin Ballet more than 40 years ago, holding classes in her own home. As an internationally trained and acclaimed dancer, Norman hoped to bring the same high-quality teaching she experienced abroad to dancers of all ages in Northern California. At her studio, which has expanded greatly to fill a bright and spacious facility in San Rafael's historic Dominican neighborhood, the current staff pursues the same mission of high-quality dance education under the tutelage of artistic director Cynthia Lucas, who trained under Norman.
The studio now welcomes more than 600 adults and youths per year to hone their fancy footwork with a schedule of more than 100 classes per week. Ballet makes up the majority of Marin’s curriculum, with training programs that start wee ones as young as 3 years old on the path to learning advanced techniques and pointe skills into adulthood. To balance out ballet-heavy schedules, students can enlist in infusion training, which covers such styles as modern dance, Pilates, jazz, flamenco, and West African dance.
The students and their instructors also choreograph and present showcases and performances of such ballet classics as The Nutcracker, the beloved tale in which giant nuts ransack a village and are eventually destroyed by the heroic Nutcracker.
During Simmer and Sear’s themed cooking classes—which won fifth place in SFGate’s 2010 Best of the Bay—chef Anna Hadley unravels the secrets and steps to creating quality cuisine. By combining choice ingredients and time-tested methods, she demonstrates that proper technique and flavor balance can transform any ordinary dish into a culinary delight or beautiful fruit hat. Working out of professional kitchens a variety of locations, including her own home in Nob Hill, as well as nearby loft spaces, converted firehouses, and suburban mansions, classes can include everything from creating swordfish kebabs from Morocco, India, and France, to culinary competitions where students design their own meals from surprise ingredients.
Chef Anna’s work at Simmer and Sear fulfills her decades-long search for the perfect career. After working for 10 years in the highly competitive world of fashion design, she merged her creative whims with her passion for cooking, eventually opening her own business where she helps others unleash their own culinary talents. Her fun, food-focused classes have even earned attention from the New York Times for their popularity among bachelorette parties, as well as other group events such as birthday parties and loosely interpreted square dances.