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Eye Level Math - Learning From The Child's Level

Sunday, 26 March 2017

If you have been following me on Instagram, I have been sharing that Big J has been going for math lessons at Eye Level



Big J's learning development is slower than most of his peers. Math is one area that is challenging for him. I have tried looking for a suitable learning centre for him but it is not easy. Most of the typical classes group the students by age and lessons are conducted based on a 'one-size-fits-all' curriculum. Since Big J did not have a strong foundation, he is not able to keep up with the class. Being an active and curious boy, paying attention is not something that is easy for him. The big class size of typical enrichment centres is thus not suitable for him.

When I received an invitation from Eye Level to review their programme, I was quite hesitant because I wasn't sure if it would be suitable for Big J. I took a look at their website and realised that they offered an individualised curriculum catering to children of different abilities. This is something that I have been looking for! So, that is the start of our journey with Eye Level.


The Environment



Eye Level currently has 19 learning centres in Singapore. Coincidentally, there is a centre near where we are staying, the Jurong West branch. Apart from the waiting area, there is a reading corner filled with lots of books. The students are welcome to read the books while waiting for their parents. They could also borrow them home if they wish.


Behind these colourful doors, are the classrooms where the students will be learning. Eye Level @ Jurong West has just underwent an expansion. The center and classrooms are now bigger.


Individualised Programme


Big J's journey with Eye Level started with a Diagnostic Test. The diagnostic test serves to understand the child's ability and learning needs. This determines the suitable level where the child will start on the Eye Level curriculum. The centre manager shared with me that this test allows the child to learn at a comfortable level - weaker students will start at a lower level to build up their foundation, while more advanced students can learn at a faster pace. Children with learning difficulties will also benefit as the program is catered to their learning pace.

After Big J is done with the test, the teacher explained to me about the results. He was recommended to start from level 2 which focuses on numbers up to 20. I thought he will be at a higher level because he has no problem counting and recognising the numbers up to 100. However, the teacher explained that his foundation for the 'teens' numbers is not really that strong, and having a strong foundation is important for more advanced math concepts.

Since the students in a class can be of different abilities and age, the teacher to students ratio is kept low to ensure an effective learning environment. Instead of teaching the same concept to everyone in the class, the teacher is able to provide more attention and guidance to each individual student. For students between 3 to 6 years old, the ratio is kept at 1:5 and for students from 7 years old onwards, the ratio is 1:8.

Systematic and Progessive Curriculum


The Eye Level Math Programme adopts a systematic and progressive approach to help students master math and critical thinking concepts. The curriculum is divided into levels and each level will have a number of booklets focusing on different math concepts. During each lesson, the student will be required to finish these work booklets. As the student advances through the booklets, there are subtle increases in difficulty. At the end of each level, there will be an assessment to gauge if the student has fully understand the concepts before advancing to the next level. In some cases, students might be asked to repeat the level if the foundation is still not that strong.


The Math curriculum consists of two parts, the Basic Thinking Math (BTM) and Critical Thinking Math (CTM).

BTM focuses more on understanding the foundation of mathematics and covers the following areas: Numbers, Arithmetic, Measurement, and Equations. The picture below is the first Basic Thinking Math booklet that Big J did. It started with cute pictures to capture the child's attention and get them interested in doing the booklet.


As the booklet proceeds, the pictures are replaced with dots. The activities in the booklet tend to be quite repetitive. Some students might be turned off by the repetition, but practice makes perfect.


Each new booklet adds on new concept subtly. There are also plenty of opportunities to review concepts learnt in previous booklets.


Next is the Critical Thinking Math. CTM helps to develop problem-solving skills and covers the following areas: Patterns and Relationships, Geometry, Measurement, Problem Solving, and Reasoning.

This is the portion that Big J really like because he thinks that it is fun work rather than the boring counting and numbers. So far, he has been doing quite a bit of patterns, matching and visual perceptions activities.



Learning manipulatives, such as this blocks and shapes, are also used as a teaching tool.


The students are expected to finish one booklet of Basic Thinking Math and one booklet of Critical Thinking Math during each lesson. For homework, students are given another booklet to complete at home. You can take a look at the samples of the worksheets here.

Self-directed Learning


Another philosophy of Eye Level is they encourage Self-directed Learning. A typical day at Eye Level begins with the student arriving at the centre and getting his own personal folder from the shelves. Inside the folder, the teachers had already prepared the booklets that the child will be doing during the lesson.


The child will then find a seat and hand in his homework to the teacher for grading. The teacher will then explained the concept of the day's booklet and the child will have to finish the booklet independently. Of course, the teacher will be nearby to guide and answer any questions the child has.

This is how the class layout looks like for the lower level group. Since these students usually need more attention and guidance from the teacher, the students are seated around the teacher.


For the higher level group, the students are expected to be more independent and disciplined. They will be seated at their own workstations to complete their work. The teacher will be at the table nearby and students will have to approach the teacher if they have any difficulties.


Eye Level has a reward system to encourage the child to learn. Once they have collected all the flags, they will be able to exchange it for a present.



A normal lesson takes about 35 to 45 min. But that doesn't means that the student will have to leave if he has not finish his work when the time is up. Similarly, if the student is able to complete his work quickly, he will be allowed to leave earlier. The student will be responsible for how fast he wants to finish his work - finish faster means more time for play, finish slower means having to stay on longer.

Two Months On... What We Like


Big J has been with Eye Level for close to two months. Although I do not see very huge improvements in terms of his independence and self-learning, I do see improvements on his math knowledge. I believe that to nurture the child to become a motivated self-learner, is a long process and requires lots of help and guidance from the parents and teachers. It is not something that can be done in a short one month plus period. Although he still talks a lot while doing his work, he knows he has to complete his work when we guide him back. Previously, he needs to ask if he is correct after answering each question. Now he knows to finish his work before asking me to check through.


As for his math skills, he has improved a lot on his critical thinking and reasoning skills. I attribute this to his love for the Critical Thinking Math. When he is interested in something, he can learn it very fast. For his Basic Math skills, he is now faster in counting. In the beginning, he really counted the dots one by one. Now, he could see it as rows of 5s and 10s and count much faster.

What I really like about Eye Level Math is the individualised curriculum which starts teaching from his eye level. This allows him to learn at a pace and level that is comfortable to him and not feeling too stress.

The blend of BTM and CTM is also interesting to me. I feel that this is very suitable for pre-primay level as the combination is useful for the child's developing brain. The systematic and progressive curriculum helps in building a strong foundation for learning more complex concepts. The booklets are also very colourful and have cute pictures to make the learning more fun.


Fees


Apart from Math, Eye Level also offers a English programme:

Eye Level English (suitable for age 3 to 14)
Eye Level English starts at the basic motor skills needed for reading and writing, goes onto the building blocks of grammar and phonics, and then to the more complex concepts that allow the mastery of verbal and written communication. The key language skills to be developed are listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Using a thematic and integrated approach, Eye Level provides students the confidence in learning English through its systematic language acquisition programme.


Eye Level Math (suitable for age 4 to 14)
Eye Level Math takes the student through a continuum of study areas covering basic skills, as well as advanced concepts and applications. Each level emphasises critical thinking through reasoning skills that students can apply to everyday life.


If you are interested in finding more about Eye Level, do check out their website. You may also email or contact the individual learning centres to find out more about the curriculum or to schedule an appointment to visit the centre. Find a centre near your home here.

GIVEAWAY


Thanks to Eye Level, we are giving away a One-month Complimentary Lessons (once a week for either English or Math) for 5 lucky winners. Do note that this is only applicable for the Jurong West Learning Centre and subjected to class availability.

Simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below to win! Giveaway ends Sunday, 2 April 2017, 11:59pm. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:
1. Giveaway ends on Sunday, 2 April 2017, 2359 hours (Singapore time).
2. Giftaway promotion not applicable for existing Eye Level students.
3. Subjected to learning centre's class availability.
4. Only applicable to Jurong West Learning Centre.
5. T&C subject to changes without prior notice.
6. Open to Singapore residents only.
7. All entries have to be completed. Incomplete or invalid entries will be disqualified without notice.
8. Limited to one winner per household.
9. Giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
10. We reserve the right to amend the terms and conditions without prior notice.


Eye Level @ Jurong West

Address: Blk 960 Jurong West St 92 #01-182 (Upper Level) Singapore 640960
Contact No: 6686 2328
Email: Jurong.West@myeyelevel.com

Eye Level has 19 learning centres in Singapore. Find a centre near your home here.
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Disclaimer: We were sponsored two months of lesson with Eye Level to try out its Math programme for the purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was involved. All opinions, texts and photos are mine, unless otherwise stated.

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