Learn more about TULA (The Ultimate Learning Accelerator), a chain of after-school learning centers that inspire a love for learning while equipping kids with life skills to reach their dreams
As a parent, you want the very best opportunities for your child to learn and grow. You also would do anything to help them navigate the struggles of growing up; this includes academics. This is why we think after-school learning centers, like TULA (The Ultimate Learning Accelerator) are great for boosting your kids love for learning and help them through their struggles.
We caught up with TULA Philippines' CEO and Co-founder James Centenera to found out more.
What distinguishes TULA from other after-school programs?
The combination of learning something relevant, developing essential 21st century skills, and having a tonne of fun is what makes our programs unique. We are not focused merely on subjects and we’re not just focused on fun. Instead we have a relevant and interesting project or “mission” that the learners engage in. The mission includes fun, social activities that help children develop essential character traits, attitudes, and skills.
We know that you are accepting kids aged 7 to 13. But do you have programs for younger kids?
Yes! We developed a new program called “School Readiness” which targets children aged 5-6 years old and helps them succeed in a classroom environment. It covers a mix of literacy and numeracy, but also thinking and reasoning skills, as well as behavior and attitude. This has been running selectively in some centers, but it is now available at select times in all centers.
How does the way you teach help kids learn better?
Our coaches all come exclusively from top universities including Ateneo, University of the Philippines, and La Salle. They are passionate educators who are rigorously trained on new approaches to learning based on the latest neuroscience and psychology from the USA and around the world. So instead of just lecturing students, they engage and motivate learners, they facilitate activities and guide with questions, and they mentor students and give them feedback.
What’s a typical schedule like? What subjects do you currently offer?
For the regular program, children will come to the center two times in a week. Each class will be two hours long with schedules available from Monday to Saturday. To learn the exact schedules, you’ll have to check with your closest center (see details at the end).
In terms of subjects, we have interdisciplinary themes such as helping the environment, how can you eat healthy and stay fit, how do different forms of transport work, and our summer program, which is about money and becoming an entrepreneur. This is similar to how Finland, one of the most progressive education systems in the world, has shifted away from subjects and follows relevant themes as well.
Aside from learning new things, what are the lasting benefits of programs such as TULA for a kid's character and attitude?
Essentially we want children to realise they can learn anything and that learning can be fun. In addition, we want them to develop the character traits and mindset to succeed, similarly to those traits we admire in successful people. We have 7 character traits: grit, courage, pro-activeness, curiosity, self-control, respect, integrity, and compassion, which are based on a study of successful people.
We have 5 attitudes and mindset - drive, optimism, growth mindset, appreciation, and resilience. And we have 3 skill sets: thinking skills, social skills, and organizational skills. If you simplify these qualities and create interesting experiences to practice them, every child can learn to develop these things to help them succeed in the future. For example, resilience - not worrying about what others say about you and bouncing back quickly from mistakes. Or grit - persevering even when something is really hard and not giving up.
Could you share with us some inspiring stories from parents/kids who have joined TULA?
Last summer, we had over 100 students in two centers and they had a great time making new friends whilst practicing social skills, building up confidence and practicing communication skills, and solving real-world problems facing the environment. Many of them continued to use TULA throughout the year, and most of our regular TULA learners are now the top students in their class.
Yza Neypes, young grade 2 student from a local Makati public school was shy when we first met her last year, but now she is confident and has been the top student in her school for the entire year. She even got 100 on a Math test and an English test. Our learners have also been chosen to represent their school or community in big events, including International Math Olympiads and International Robotics contests, as well as their own graduation speeches and local public speaking contests.
TULA Philippines has expanded to 4 centers: East Rembo (Makati), Legaspi Village (Makati), De Castro (Pasig), and Bambang (Pasig). They plan to open more centers soon! For more details, visit the TULA Education website or visit the TULA Facebook page.
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