National Parenting Gifted Children Week on July, 2024: Why does Sylvan pay so little!!!!?

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Why does Sylvan pay so little!!!!?

Teachers are not necessary to their program, really. They provide their "service" in a very consistant way. It is a franchise. I don't think there is much room for differentiated instruction. Sylvan began as a means of getting and keeping kids on the "giftedness" fast track.

~Tots on the fast track

Tuesday, July 25, 2006




Payton Stills, 3, working on the alphabet with his parents, Deirdre Ifill-Stills and Eric Stills, and Teaneck Junior Kumon director Gail Hurlburt.

Mawutor Fiavey gets tutored weekly and has homework every day – flash cards, worksheets and books to explore. His mom gives him grapes or bananas when he sits still. That's not easy for him – he's not quite 3.

Mawutor joined the growing ranks of the tutored in the spring at the tender age of 2½. His mother, a nurse, hopes one-on-one sessions at the Kumon Center in Teaneck will build on his regular preschool classes and help him thrive in kindergarten. "I'm hoping he's able to read a little ahead of his class,'' she said.

In today's wildly competitive world of child-rearing, tutoring draws a crowd fresh from naptime and the sandbox. Parents who sign up say they want to give their preschoolers an academic edge, plus the confidence that comes from achieving ahead of the curve. Many parents are anxious to help kids start to read before kindergarten, which is widely viewed as the "new first grade." Some also worry that overburdened elementary teachers no longer have enough time to cement basic skills.

Skeptics warn that such early tutoring can be risky; if it puts too much stress on children, or makes them feel frustrated by failure, it could sour their natural appetite for learning. They argue this is the age when children learn best through play and hands-on exploration rather than formal instruction.

"It's only a matter of time before we see neonatal reading units,'' complained Maurice Elias, a Rutgers University psychology professor and co-author of "Emotionally Intelligent Parenting." "The quest for an edge never stops. Once Billy and all his classmates graduate Harvard Prep Preschool, Billy will have to learn ancient Sanskrit and mountain climbing in order to stay ahead. It's an unhealthy cycle for the family and for society."

Other experts see pros as well as cons. "There are certainly benefits to more one-on-one time with an adult,'' said Alan Simpson at the National Association for the Education of Young Children. "On the other hand, some of these programs may be a sign of parents feeling too much pressure and passing it on to their children. Parents should realize that early learning isn't a race ... and there's no reason to believe that because your kid is at the head of the class in kindergarten he's more likely to be at the head in 12th grade."

Despite such concerns, tutoring small children has become big business. It has piggybacked onto a K-12 tutoring market now estimated at $5 billion a year by investment analysts at ThinkEquity Partners.

Junior Kumon, launched in 2003, teaches about 21,000 preschoolers nationwide, including about 800 in northern New Jersey. Sylvan Learning Centers, which last year rolled out programs for kids as young as 4½, reports tutoring about 4,000 preschoolers nationwide. Both companies say they launched these plans after clients with older children begged for lessons for their younger ones, too. Score!, a division of Kaplan, said its pre-K set has grown steadily as well, and makes up 9 percent of its New Jersey students, or almost 300 preschoolers.

Tutors say some parents pay for services in hopes of getting their kids into private schools or gifted programs, while others seek a preventive step to ensure their children won't be the ones falling behind. Some immigrant families sign up their youngest to help polish their English skills and get more exposure to their new country's culture.

Eric Stills, a pharmaceutical salesman in New Milford, said he enrolled his son, Payton, a bright and friendly 3-year-old, in Junior Kumon last month so he could get more individual attention than he would in his regular preschool. Payton had once been diagnosed with a slight speech delay, and his parents want to make sure he won't be labeled when he gets to public school. Kumon, a Japanese method of daily drills and self-discipline, costs about $80 to $110 per subject per month, and students typically come twice a week.

During a recent lesson, Payton matched a lower-case letter to its capital and his dad, who was watching, gave him a high-five. "People who have been involved in this have done very well in college, both getting into good schools and performing,'' said Stills. "It gives children a clear advantage.''

Stills discounts concerns about too much stress. "If you let them do it at their own pace and make it fun, they'll do the task,'' he said. "If you start them early, you get them in a routine.''

Andrea Pastorok, Junior Kumon's education consultant, said the curriculum aims to foster the foundations of math and reading, such as recognizing patterns and letters' sounds, but it doesn't prod kids before they're able. She said it actually staves off pressure by showing parents how to praise their kids properly as they practice at home. "If we're faced with parents who push too hard, we train them to back off," she said.

Making learning fun

All the pre-K tutoring programs say they make learning fun, and they motivate students with prizes ranging from stickers to dolls to gift certificates. They also say that if a child is clearly too immature to cooperate and concentrate, they'll tell parents to hold off.

"Nobody's saying a 4½-year-old child should be sitting in formal classes for hour upon hour ... but a couple of hours a week is perfectly reasonable," said Richard Bavaria, vice president of education at Sylvan. "If a child sees an older sister reading Harry Potter and she wants to read also, and she's ready, then why not?"

Sylvan enrolls children over 4½ for its Beginner Reader program. Parents typically bring in preschoolers for an hour session with a teacher two or three times a week. Tutoring averages $40 to $45 an hour.

Score! takes a different tack by setting kids up at computers that lead them through exercises. Sessions cost $20 to $25 an hour.

One recent afternoon at the Ridgewood branch, 5-year-old Ayila Houngbo sat at a computer with a headset on while a singing cartoon starfish asked her to spot the "ish" floating on her screen. As her little legs dangled off her chair, her pink flip-flops not reaching the floor, she clicked her mouse on cue.

"Good job, Ayila!'' said Jamie Hayman, regional manager.

She grinned. Ayila scored well enough that she earned four shots at an indoor basketball hoop, where success also racks up points for prizes.

Her mother, Patricia Houngbo of Maywood, said she signed up Ayila in April because she felt her older children had benefited, and Ayila said she enjoys it. Houngbo said the K-12 curriculum has speeded up so much that it's wise to start kindergarten with a leg up.

Even so, she wants to preserve balance for Ayila and make sure she has enough time to play with friends.

"This is the world of challenges,'' said Houngbo. "All the good colleges and universities take just the best. ... Children don't have time now to be children. She is small but we have to prepare her for this new future."

Staff Writer Ruth Padawer contributed to this article. E-mail:

~Carey, having a full-time teaching position with Millcreek School District this fall, began looking for summer work in mid April. After all, we've got a new house! Cash is good, in any form. One of the first places she looked was at the Sylvan Learning Center on Peach Street here in Erie.

Parents can send their children to Sylvan for the low low rate of about $40 per hour. Teachers are tasked with helping three to four students at a time, netting anywhere from $120 to $160. Teachers - who must be certified and pass Sylvan's own battery of tests - are then tasked with little more than helping students work on Sylvan-prepared worksheets.

How much are the teachers paid? Eight measly bucks an hour.

My recommendation is simple: if you have a child who is in need of tutoring, find a teacher who is good at what they do and offer them $15 to $25 per hour. You'll pay less and get your child individualized attention that likely fits better into your schedule.

I made more than $8/hour working at Boston Market in 1996.

~Sylvan does a pretty good job of ripping off parents and students, too.

About six years ago my parents had me spend a day being tested at Sylvan and while I aced everything they threw at me they decided that my parents had better keep paying them money because I had below average "study skills", a fact they probably arrived at from the one or two questions they asked about how much time I spent on homework a night.

The whole thing was insulting, I didn't do the silly worksheets they gave me and I didn't want the silly rewards that they gave to the students who did.

The entire system felt more like babysitting than tutoring. I got out after a couple of sessions.

~I was a classroom teacher. I found that my students had wonderful results at Sylvan Learning Center. I was so impressed by the communication that I received from the Sylvan director about the kinds of things my student my working on. You must remember, Sylvan uses a battery of tests to find out what skills are missing so that those skill gaps can be filled in. A classroom teacher does not have the tools to uncover skill gaps that happened 2 to 3 years before that student was ever in your class. I would highly recommend Sylvan to anyone. I later went on to work for Sylvan as the center director. Sylvan does not clears $150 or more on a table of students. The monthly cost to operate a Sylvan center is around $5000 to $10,000 per month. The Sylvan owners pay their own advertising, they have to buy all of the Sylvan materials, payroll etc... The cost to even open a sylvan franchise is around $200k and that doesn't include any build out cost that might be required to the building.

My Sylvan teachers started out at $9.00 per hr and received a pay increase at the end of the 90 day probation period. They received bonuses for student growth etc and yearly raises.

~I just spent three hours "training" at Sylvan only to learn that my teaching degree and 5 years classroom experience would get me $9/hour. I'm going back to waitressing.

~I'm not surprised. With what I've read on this blog and what I experienced in my first interview, I've concluded that these jokers are educator wannabees. C'mon, 9 measily bucks for teaching? These people live on another planet.

~Our teachers start at 10.00 per hour; Algebra teachers start at $12.00. They have the privelege of just teaching and motivating these kids and watching them succeed. There are no long hours of grading papers, lesson plans, etc. They have an assistant to bring them materials or whatever they may need during the teaching hour. The students don't do "just Sylvan worksheets" as one poster put it. They complete from five to ten assignments per hour and the Sylvan prescriptions are researched-based--a lot of the research came from Johns Hopkins university; and each students program is very individualized, and the teacher motivates and guides the student according to what type of learner he or she is. During their initial diagnostic assessment, the student is identified as a visual, auditory or tactile learner.

It's a program that works for the majority of the students. And I give my teachers all the snacks they can eat, and cokes for 25 cents--plus a dinner once a month and a drawing for giftcards!

Recently I enrolled two students at the local Sylvan center. Sadly, these kids are in a real crisis situation and need expert one on one tutoring. They must make up years of gaps in the education provided by the Mesa AZ school system. I was led to believe that Sylvan would provide that tutoring in a individualized, comfortable atmosphere. At no time did any of the personnel tell me that one tutor has at least 3 students at a time, that the classrooms were actually one room that was noisy and distracting, and that Sylvan would be assessing the kids progress based on tests I couldn't review as they had been taken originally. (Sylvan uses a bubble test and claims copywrite infringement if they were provide a copy to me) So far, the kids have been given worksheets to fill out and absolutely no individualized help. I should have known something was not right with the center when the emails they sent me had words spelled wrong and grammar errors. They estimate almost $50K in tutoring hours are required for these two kids. If, after 36 hours of tutoring, an improvement of one grade level is not achieved, they will provide 12 hours of free tutoring. Basically, they are grading themselves and don't allow you to have a baseline to assess developement, or achievements by the students,and therefore Sylvan as well. The first 100 hours have been paid for, the remaining funds will go to an in home tutor that will help these kids. It would take a lot to convince me that Sylvan is anything more than just a business with the almighty dollar the real goal. That is the lesson they provided, a lesson I will never forget.

Lots more on this blog.

Which Disney World deluxe resort is best for young children (ages 8 and 4)?

Which Disney World deluxe resort is best for young children (ages 8 and 4)?

I've stayed at both lodges numerous times with family and kids. However, the Wilderness Lodge would be my first if I wanted a relaxing laid back setting similar to that theme since it's right next to the Wilderness Campground (if you have a big group, they have cabins here too- a unique venture). They have a great petting zoo area with pony rides ($3), boats, and the Hoop De Doo Musical Review Dinner (expensive, but I hear it's worth it). Also, although this resorts' decor isn't as new and nice as the Animal Kingdom, there is a nice boat to the Magic Kingdom (where you can take the monorail to Epcot or a bus to the other parks) If you are at the park all day, you want a relaxing place similar to a National Park Lodge to relax in. The pools are very nice too. I seem to remember a really long tube slide. THey are Not as nice as the Beach Club/ Yaut club which you need a wrist band to go in (sand bottom, lazy river, pirate ship w/ cool slide, very cool, but hey, are you there for the pool, or for the parks? It's close to the Magic Kingdom and you get good treatment at the bus stops as opposed to the value resorts that have lines from here to timbuck two.

For the adults, I'd say the Animal Kingdom Lodge!!! I love it, and so do my boys! The animals are literally right outside your window. The place is gorgeous with some education about African tribes and a huge fireplace and big leather chairs. They have a nice restaruant there too where the kids can bang their plates and stuff. It smells like wood cooked African Food when you walk in. Some casual dinning and a really nice unique flavored place that the adults like better. It's the newest of the ones you mentioned (in fact, the first is really old, and the second is getting there). The rooms are so pretty and clean here. I went for my honeymoon here and I'll never forget the feeling that I was in a luxury hotel. However, if you are going to go to Disney's Animal Kingdom Park anyway, they'll have had enough of the animals perhaps.

Although the Contemporary is nice in location (you have to stay in the main building, not the adjacent one that's cheaper), and they do have Goofy's Breakfast Buffet which we go to anyway, even if we are staying somewhere else, dispite the fact they had a problem with birds pooping on from the rafters one year. . . I just don't think the kids can run and be free and wild there. It's too. . . contemporary. The gift shops are nice there though. You can watch the fireworks from the outside balcony. . but you'll more likely be watching them at the park, right. It's a bit boring there in my opinion, and getting older.

The polynesian has been open forever. My parents stayed there for their honeymoon. I've heard it's too expensive for what you get.

The thing is, at Disney, you'll never run out of things to do, and every place is going to be enjoyable. If you are at the parks all day, you'll regret that you didn't get enough time to spend at the resort, and visa versa. Also, you can always get a bus to any of the resorts and check them out if you want, since you are on Disney Property. Not that you'll really have time in a week to do that, but hey. It's an option for dinner one night at least.

the mother inlaw, the husband and my child?

the mother inlaw, the husband and my child?

You state that your mother in law planned to get you deported and now you fear that she plans to force you to return. Can you see the contradiction here? Far more likely is that she is trying to find a way to get your daughter to the US and away from you. Believe me, there are many cases every year of parents absconding with a child who never comes back and the US is one of the places they go to. Without a divorce and custody order, it will not even be considered a kidnapping.

The story of medical insurance is total nonsense, of course you can see straight through that. Not only would US medical insurance not be useful in the UK but there is no need for a social security number. Most American children don't get one of these until they are older and all are insured at birth.

No, her agenda is to get your daughter a US passport. This is something you need to be very alert to as she will not be able to kidnap your daughter without a passport.

Unfortunately, getting an American passport will not be hard. Your husband will easily be able to get a certified copy of the birth certificate if he has her name and a date of birth. Then he can write up an affidavit stating that you are out of the country, go in with a baby of a similar age to a passport office and it will be done.

I recommend you get in touch with the US Embassy in London and alert them to a possible fraudulent application. This will put a block on their database so that no passport can be issued to your child at any location.

Also on this date Monday, July 1, 2024...