Visit the Spark booth at the City Square Mall Education Fair (Level 1 Atrium) at the following dates:
28-30 May 2010
4-6 June 2010
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call to book your 1-hour FREE TRIAL.
Spark Learning Centres are located at:
#07-11 City Square Mall
Tel: 6834 4458
#03-30 The Central
Tel: 6225 6543
It is believed that there’s a spark in every child, and perhaps all it takes is Spark’s digital learning methodology to ignite your child’s potential.
Spark Learning Centres are set up by Laserwords Learning Pte Ltd, whose parent company is part of a well-established conglomerate, the Muragappa Group, in India. Laserwords has been in its core business of pre-publishing for more than 20 years and it was through working with publishers that they identified the rising inclination towards digital content even in the education space.
Making our Lion City its pilot foray into the Southeast Asian market, there are currently two Spark Learning Centres in Singapore. The first opened in December 2009 at The Central, and the second one in January 2010 at City Square Mall.
Spark emphasises learning in a fun way, offering an enrichment programme that uses an interactive, computer-based curriculum. And they seem to hit the nail on the head not just because children simply enjoy mouse-clicking on computers, but because of a growing global trend towards starting kids early on an e-Learning route.
Says Dr S N Uma, President, Spark, “Kids nowadays are constantly being fed with knowledge – they are taught by teachers in schools and by parents at home. And then there’s more coaching by teachers when they attend tuition classes. Therefore, it is important for kids to take charge of their own learning for a change.” That is why Spark’s unique programme is designed for self-paced learning, believing that when the child drives the learning pace, learning will automatically be enjoyable. Moreover, because every child learns differently, Spark doesn’t employ standard curricula for every child, but personalises a learning programme based on each individual’s strengths and needs, further aiding the child to internalise the concepts taught.
This concurs with the thoughts of Howard Gardner, an academic at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, who said in 2009 that it is possible to individualise education – to teach each person what he or she needs and wants to know in ways that are more comfortable and most efficient. In fact, he went on to say that probably Singapore or Sweden will be the first to embrace the next big thing in education, i.e. personal, individualised education through computers.
Spark aims to strengthen a child’s fundamentals in Mathematics and English. Its interesting curricula, presented in colourful cartoon drawings and lively audio, was developed in the USA and cater especially to children between ages five to eleven. Lest you think what’s taught to American kids may not be useful to Asian youngsters, Dr Uma stresses that through diagnostic assessment tests, lessons will be tailored to bridge the child’s learning gaps, resulting in a qualitative jump in educational effectiveness. In fact, cultural nuances such as American units of measure and spelling are subtle ways to expose the child to global experiences.
Sub skills covered for English include Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Sight Words, Vocabulary Development and Reading Comprehension.
Sub skills covered for Mathematics include Numerical skills, Measurement, Geometry and Algebraic concepts.
Lessons are structured in three parts:
Explanation of concept in audio visual format
So what’s different about Spark?
It’s not a tuition centre, where lessons are aligned to the MOE syllabus. Instead of remedial lessons, Spark offers enrichment programmes to take the child beyond what they learn in school.
It’s not only for weaker students who require extra coaching but also for those who want to be ahead of their class. Every child’s individual ability is assessed before putting him/her on a personalised programme, and progressively challenged to proceed beyond his/her supposed “educational level”.
There are no fixed classes, e.g. Primary 1 Maths on Monday morning and Primary 3 English on Thursday morning. Parents can sign a child up for a 20-hour or 40-hour programme per subject, and the hours can be utilised at the child’s own pace.
There is no class-based standard lesson plan. There may be two Primary 2 students going through the training side by side, but both may take different lesson modules, all customised to each student’s ability.
There are no teachers in the centre, only facilitators. The computer-based lessons are all self-contained and presented in a fast-paced, game-like manner. Feedback is provided and students who encounter problems will be shown detailed explanations in a non-threatening way. Results are all captured and parents will be given reports every four weeks.
It’s not a cold, impassioned session. A 60-minute lesson can stretch to 90 minutes, taking into account breaks, when students can play mind games like chess, jigsawpuzzle, Tangram, or colouring before going back to the computer. At the end of each session, sticker stars are awarded to motivate the children. The ergonomically designed environment is conducive for learning too, with greenery and gentle lighting all around to soothe the eyes!
Since the centres opened in Singapore, feedback from parents and students has been positive. Dr Uma revealed that her students always look forward to attending lessons at the centres. In fact, there was a young girl who actually started to enjoy Spark’s Mathematics curriculum after trying it out the first time, even though Maths used to be a subject she disliked!
What parents think
Jun Yong, 6 has been attending sessions twice a week at Spark (City Square Mall) since January 2010 – one day for Maths and another for English. His parents, Yvonne and Roy, had chanced upon the school while strolling around the mall near their home. So far, the feedback has been positive and they have in fact renewed for another 40-week Spark package.
“Jun Yong enjoys the classes at Spark. Although it deals with subjects like Maths and English, he treats the computer-based lessons more like games than homework,” Roy reveals. As to why he and his wife chose to enrol their son in the programme, Roy says: “We strongly believe that self-learning is the way to go in education. And we want to cultivate a learning attitude in our kid from a young age and let him acquire knowledge by himself. We think he is personally suited for such a method.”
In particular, Jun Yong’s parents were concerned with his Maths and English comprehension skills. Says Yvonne: “From the initial assessment test, Spark is able to tailor a well-rounded programme for Jun Yong, thus helping him to reinforce his weaker areas. Of course, it helps him progress beyond his K-2 standard as well.” In particular, Yvonne likes the fact that Spark allows parents to sit in with their children so that they can evaluate what their children are going through. Some requests for her to experience the actual modules Jun Yong has taken were also granted so she has a better idea of the lessons taught. “Parents will never be able to do that at a tuition centre,” she said with a laugh.