Why your child should NOT miss this after-school program - The Ultimate Learning Accelerator

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Many educational programs in the market are unnecessary, The Ultimate Learning Accelerator isn't one of them.

Education is perhaps one of the top concerns of parents - and one that businesses are willing to capitalize on. Aside from traditional schools, there are thousands of books, products and services designed to help your kids learn their A to Z's and everything in between.

So when I found out that there was a new after-school program in town calling itself "The Ultimate Learning Accelerator" (TULA, pronouned "too-la"), I had my doubts. In my humble opinion, many programs in the market are unnecessary, feeding off parents' doubts and fears about their children's future.

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But after visiting their center in Legaspi, Makati (they have another branch in Kapitolyo, Pasig), I can't wait until my children can enrol. They are currently accepting students aged 7 to 13 but are developing their program for younger children.

So what's different about this one?

1. It doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Enrichment programs are generally expensive because they promise to give your child a competitive advantage. Starting at only P300 per week for a 2-hour session, TULA is clearly not just about money. The value they provide to their students is so much more.

2. Their "coaches" (the teachers at the center) are top-notch. TULA CEO and co-founder James Centenera used to work for global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. Learn more about the other team members and get ready to be impressed by their credentials and passion. They maintain a coach-student ratio of 1:12 but off-peak classes have fewer students (and are cheaper too).

3. They took the best approaches to education from around the world. Co-founder Fenton Whelan works with governments of many countries to improve their quality of education so he knows what works. TULA's thematic and non-competitive approach reminded me of this write-up about the Finnish education system. This month's theme is all about physical fitness! Yes, there is more to education than just mental exercises.

Don't worry, they also follow and are even a step ahead of the K-12 curriculum prescribed by DepEd. Find out more on the next page.

4. Rest assured, academics, particularly English and mathematics, is part of their curriculum. Students spend the first part of each session doing school work individually like preparing for an upcoming exam at school or answering worksheets provided by the center.

TULA supports or closes gaps in the DepEd curriculum such as discussing probability longer because they noticed that the topic is usually done at the tail-end of the school year and teachers have to rush through it.

TULA Character and Attitude

5. But character development is also an important part of their program, if not even more important. Many times, success in life is about being equipped with the right character and attitude. This non-judgemental learning environment is how TULA builds a positive attitude towards learning. Posters on walls are displayed with spelling errors and no red marks. James explains, "At their age, they just need to be better exposed to more words." Case in point, the word "president" was spelled perfectly because their theme for the month was being a "Kid President."

6. Yes, their themes are reflective of raising responsible citizens. The Kid President theme was all about governments and leaders. They talked about how great things can be achieved like the amazing infrastructure of Japan if there is good governance. They even touched on the European refugee crisis! Talk about global citizens in the making.

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7. And being part of a community is about knowing and respecting others from different backgrounds. Children from different schools (not all students are from exclusive private schools) and age groups are encouraged to work and learn together with their classmates. Coaches facilitate group dynamic activities that reinforce cooperation and curiosity. For example, the "score" for one activity is based on the answers of everyone in the group. Diversity is appreciated and even advantageous because the team can come up with more answers.

But wait, there's more! Check out 3 more things that make TULA stand out on the next page.

8. They build skills that will prepare students to succeed in life, regardless of what road they choose and how the future looks. When I observed their class (remember they were talking about governments), they were talking about solutions to flooding. One student talked about cleaning the canal. The coach then asked the class to think about the pros and cons of the proposed solution, and asked them to come up with at least two more solutions and their respective pros and cons. That's how I want my children to develop logical and creative thinking so that they can solve any problems they will face.

9. Students even learn from movies and receive one-on-one mentoring when necessary. For example, from "The Little Mermaid," one class discussed the relationship of Ariel and her dad King Triton - what could the characters have done differently? James also shared a story about one boy who was having a hard time understanding how his dad left his family. With the help of Star Wars, he came to accept his family's situation but also realize that it didn't mean he would turn out bad.

10. You can even try it out before you enrol. If it sounds too good to be true, why not visit their center and schedule a FREE 6-hour trial. They are also offering a summer program, Kid Legends. They will be tasked to "investigate real-world problems and come up with solutions to share with adults." It will run for 8 weeks from April 5 to May 29 and costs just P4,000 (That's P500/week with 2-3 sessions per week). Coaches include professionals from media, banks, foundations and well-known local and multi-national organizations.

BONUS: You and your child even help the country. TULA is a social enterprise - Not only will your child benefit from the holistic curriculum and awesome learning experiences, the membership fees also fund free programs for public schools and teachers. They even have a free app coming soon. Imagine a Philippines where curiosity and critical thinking are instilled in children!

Ready to sign up or want to learn more?

TULA wall

It was clear to me from the little details to the bold statement on their wall, "A better way to learn Math. English. Anything." - these people know what they're doing. Make sure your child doesn't miss this bus. Contact The Ultimate Learning Accelerator through their Facebook page or at numbers (0905)5197291 and (0921)2096763.

READ: Which tutorial center is best for your child?

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