Kuang was looking for a high quality after-school program for her daughter that would challenge her critical thinking skills and teach perseverance, all while honing her interpersonal skills. She found what she was looking for in Spirit of Math, an “after-school school” that has been showing up in force on the national mathematics contest honour rolls since the 1980’s.
The only problem was that the closest location was more than 2000 kilometres away, in Winnipeg. But Kuang wouldn’t let that stand in the way of her child’s education. “I won’t give up a good opportunity for my daughter when I see it,” she said. Kuang contacted Spirit of Math to inquire about franchising and hopped on a flight to the Toronto Head Office to check out Spirit of Math classes in person.
Her first observation was that the students were intensely focused on listening to their teacher and excited to discuss the problems. “I’ve never seen kids this interested in so-called ‘boring math’, ” she said. “They were so focused they were hardly aware of me observing them.”
Another aspect that struck Kuang was the precise attention Spirit of Math teachers pay to the language they use and how it will affect a child’s learning. Saying “this is easy” is not allowed. “This seemingly innocent statement can be a confidence destroyer for a student who’s not finding it easy,” said Kuang. Rather, students are taught to work with their peers to understand the material and progress together through the program.
Yet, Spirit of Math makes no qualms about being a very challenging program. The curriculum and teaching methods were unlike anything Kuang had seen in other after-school programs. “It’s facing something truly challenging and succeeding that gives kids the confidence and drive that lasts a lifetime,” said Kuang.
Designed specifically to meet the needs of highly motivated students with a B+ or higher in their day school, Spirit of Math classes tackle math in a more advanced and in-depth manner than what might normally be expected of young children… and students are thriving.
Seeing the fast-paced classes, peppered with ample group-work and taught by professional teachers who draw ideas from the students rather than lecturing, Kuang was hooked. She decided that, not only did she want this program for her daughter; she wanted to provide this opportunity for all the high-achieving students in Vancouver.
Her campus – the first Spirit of Math location in British Columbia – opened this month at St. James Community Square, 3214 West 10th Avenue. Students from grades 1 to 6 with a B+ or higher in math are invited to participate in a free trial class.
Looking to the future, Kuang envisions Spirit of Math Vancouver West as a hub for students and parents to meet peers who share a passion for education, and a place “that gives students talent and confidence in math that spills over into all other aspects of life.”
To learn more about Spirit of Math “After-school schools” visit www.spiritofmath.com.
About the Campus owner
Connie Kuang was raised in China and has called Vancouver since 1996. The daughter of two teachers, Kuang has always valued education and loved math. She holds a degree in Physics. Kuang has one daughter enrolled in Spirit of Math and another that’s just waiting to be old enough.
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About Spirit of Math Schools
The highly acclaimed Spirit of Math is an after school system of schools and a fundamentally unique curriculum designed to meet the needs of high performing students. Developed in the classroom over 25 years, Spirit of Math combines creative problem solving, quick math drills, and proven teaching methods to set new standards in mathematics education. Classes are 1.5 hours once per week from September to June.