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.
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Sammamish Eye Level Learning Center’s name draws its inspiration from the story of a teacher with a unique perspective. On a trip to the Smithsonian, a man would kneel down in front of each painting, attracting the attention of other visitors. Finally, when asked what he was doing, he replied, “I am an elementary-school teacher, and I will bring my students here tomorrow. I was wondering how my students would enjoy the paintings from a student’s eye level.” In that spirit, the tutors at this multidisciplinary learning center put the reins in their students' hands with their child-directed learning process, which ensures kids develop the skills they need at a pace they can handle, without getting bored enough to eat their homework and blame it on their dogs.
For sand to turn into glass, something must heat it to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit—something like a meteor crashing into the earth, a volcano erupting, or lightning striking a beach. At Redmond School of Glass, sculptor Corey Hubbell and his team of instructors take care of the heating part, dipping into a chamber for dollops of molten glass that students turn into pieces of art. They lead one-time sessions as well as six-week courses—which maintain a student-teacher ratio of 2:1—imparting their expertise through projects that involve crafting ornaments, vases, and dishes. And they've stocked their studio with all the necessary tools, such as wooden blocks for shaping and jacks for cutting.
By sharing their craft, Corey and his team continue the storied glass-art heritage of Seattle, which once sustained more than 300 glass shops. The area's world-renowned scene claims sculptor Dale Chihuly, the Pilchuck Glass School, and the Museum of Glass; so definitive is glass, in fact, that four out of the last five mayors were made of it.
A gallery of masterpieces showcases stunningly virtuosic renderings—which are especially impressive considering they were created by kids. While fostering a friendly, cheerful atmosphere, instructors teach classical art skills to classes of up to 12 students at a time. During weekly classes, the skilled instructors demonstrate how to realistically illustrate animals, figures, and still-life scenes using traditional media. "Creativity follows mastery" is the KidsArt philosophy, so they designed the sort of program they imagine the old masters would have approved. Planting graphite sticks and paintbrushes in pupils' hands, instructors teach color mixing, show students how to break an image into its component parts, and instill necessary behaviors such as focus and patience. Programs include individualized drawing and painting lessons and special-topic workshops, such as clay sculpture, figure drawing, and Anime/cartooning.
In 1987, indoor climbing was as unpopular in the Seattle area as breeding labradoodles. But Vertical World––a pioneer indoor climbing gym––introduced the city to the up-and-coming sport of rock climbing in a controlled environment. Since its inception, the gym has expanded to three other locations in Everett, Tacoma, and Redmond, the latter hosting eastside climbers for more than 20 years.
A team of experienced route creators challenges climbers with more than 200 bouldering, lead, or top-rope routes in a wide variety of difficulty levels. The gym hosts competitive youth teams that have gone on to national or world tournaments. The gym's staff of climbers and guides also leads outdoor excursions that build confidence and teach novices how to identify a rock wall in the wild.