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.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.
ke a creative séance, Spirited Art helps painters of all skill levels and ages channel their inner Van Goghs during step-by-step art lessons that render colorful masterpieces. The instructors keep the environment fun and lighthearted as students pick up provided brushes, stand at their easels, and conjure their muses before laying out such compositions as Klimt's The Kiss, a still life with coffee cups, or a Monet-inspired landscape. Pupils can snack on treats brought from home as they add color to their canvas, and adults can bring wine to lubricate the flow of ideas. At the end of the lesson, each painter totes home a finished magnum opus to grace a mantel or cover up the results of practicing their javelin throw indoors.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr's only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and eight years later, Pure Barre spread its franchises to what is now more than 160 locations across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, physiques can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The total-body workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers to regain their desired shape without leading the daycare's piggyback carpool. High-energy, intimate classes with small amounts of attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to derive the deepest possible burn from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills. Pure Barre also offers private barre-ties, DVDs, equipment, designer exercise apparel, and more.
Jernard Wells learned to cook by watching his father, who prepared dinner for his six children every night. Inspired by his father and encouraged by his mother, Jernard started his own catering business while in high school and had immediate success. He made boxed lunches that were a hit with local construction workers; by the age of 22 he had opened two restaurants. Wells has since built on that success quite a bit?he?s put together presentations at large shows alongside Barack Obama and Paula Deen, authored two books, and made appearances on Food Network and Lifetime shows.
Today, Wells develops recipes for brands such as Whole Foods and sells specialty spices such as sweet tea chicken seasoning with black tea leaves and sage, and southern barbecue seasoning with smoked sea salt and paprika. He also extends his love of cooking to others though classes that focus on a range of topics?you can learn how to prepare quick appetizers, make Italian pasta sauces, or gracefully lick a plate clean.
Baby signing classes, based on the Signing Time Academy curricula, teach pre-speech tots ages 3 and under how to effectively convey feelings of hunger, thirst, exhaustion, and insistent desires to ride the dog around the block like a pony. Board-certified music therapist Megan Taylor teaches the 45-minute classes, which are scheduled on Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. The classes must be taken within the same four week series, as each class builds on the previous class. By broadening vocabularies, the classes bring parents and children closer together, reducing frustration and facilitating existential dialogues. Groupon holders also enjoy a 5% discount on Singing Time Academy flash cards, DVDs, and associated accessories.