Tutors help children

When students in Cayman need help in studying for exams or require extra support and motivation in learning, they turn to only a few choices on Island for tutoring.

Tutors are not expected to diagnose learning disabilities. But they can assist in teaching a variety of subjects, giving additional, special or remedial instruction.

Cayman tutoring choices

The Sylvan Learning Centre provides tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels in Cayman and all through North America, Canada, and the Bahamas.

According to Cheryl-Ann Edwards, the Cayman Islands Sylvan Learning Centre director, the Sylvan process and personalised methods have helped more than 2 million students.

“Sylvan’s trained and Sylvan-certified tutors provide individual instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams,” she says. “Sylvan helps transform kids into inspired learners with the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else.”

Cayman Learning Centre is another choice for tutoring offering three programmes covering all age ranges.

Their morning programme helps learners from ages three to five get prepared to enter school with a focus on school readiness skills such as motor skill development, shapes, colours, letters, sounds and numbers.

Their after-school programme works to support primary and secondary students in core subject areas, literacy and math.

They also offer a reading programme that helps develop phonemic awareness skills – a skill dyslexic students are weak in and which is required in order to make sense of both reading and spelling.

“We are dedicated to ensure students reach and exceed academic goals,” says Carrie Patraulea, the education director at Cayman Learning Centre. “We are focused on building children’s confidence and passion for learning.”

There are only a few other tutoring options on island – Claude Bailey offers tutoring help for college mathematics plus general tutoring for grades three through 12.

Also, Montessori Home Tutoring offers individual help on a variety of different subjects.

Why kids fall behind

“Each child is a unique individual that learns at their own rate,” Ms Patraulea says. “Once a child has misunderstood a concept, it can lead to confusion and frustration. When students are unable to keep up with the rate the curriculum is taught, they fall behind.”

She says that once a child is frustrated, they may lose interest in the topic or, worse, in school and learning in general.

Ms Edwards essentially agreed, reiterating that the basic love of learning is essential.

“Because children learn at different levels and have different interests, some students become easily bored with their school studies and fall behind in class,” she says. “While there are students that do well in every subject, others struggle to keep up with assignments and give up on their learning because it can overwhelm them.”

But there is hope. Parents can spot early warning signs that might determine whether a tutor is needed. Ms Edwards says that parents must ask themselves these questions:

Is my child in need of assistance to reach his full potential? Is he developing low self-esteem? Losing interest in learning? Preparing for college testing, including college entrance exams, SAT and ACT tests? Struggling to focus on a task? Spending more time daydreaming than on reading or homework? Receiving test scores that do not reflect his daily performance? Is my child interested in enriching himself beyond education?

If a child is resistant to do homework, or if they are not confident to risk-take in a subject, these may be warning signs that clear understanding of the subject has not yet been attained, according to Ms Patraulea.

“If a parent suspects their child may not be fully grasping concepts, it is always best to follow their instincts and seek our help immediately,” she says. “Closing small skill gaps is easier and less of a time commitment then filling in large skill gaps.”

One-on-one attention

Cayman Learning Centre does a comprehensive skills assessment to get to the heart of the learning issue.

“This will allow us to pinpoint the level the child is performing, their strengths and weaknesses,” says Ms Patraulea. “We then develop an individualised programme that focuses on ensuring skills gaps are addressed.”

Students are apt to make gains in the environment away from home as there are far less distractions, according to Ms Patraulea.

“As well, our teachers are highly trained in specific strategies that help students reflect, learn and succeed,” she says.

That’s the purpose of tutoring – to teach children efficient learning skills and techniques, says Ms Edwards.

“It’s important that parents take action early and seek a supplemental service that develops these skills for success,” she says. “A good personal instructor will inspire and help students at all levels of academic accomplishment, and develop study habits and organisational skills that will result in significantly improved schoolwork and test scores.”