Math Enrichment at Eye Level
When the review invitation from Eye Level popped up in my email a few months ago, my first instinct was to decline. Well, you know how the rest of the story goes. The fact that I’m writing this review shows that we did give it a go in the end.
But first, the diagnostic test.
What attracted me to sign on was the diagnostic test. What is my child’s learning style? Is she able to understand concept learning at this age? Isn’t she too young for a subject based enrichment? Will she feel pressured and dislike learning all together? And many other questions ran through my mind. But then I though if she doesn’t like the test and the first lesson, we can always walk away.
What is a Diagnostic Test at Eye Level?
Eye Level Math uses a systematic curriculum. It is divided into various levels according to child’s abilities.
Before a child starts her lesson at Eye Level, she is put through a diagnostic test to determine her level of understanding of a subject (English/Math). Based on the test results, the teacher will then recommend the appropriate level for her to start.
After the test, it was decided that Lauren is at Level 3 (Addition) and in the first lesson, she was given 2 booklets to complete.
Math: Basic Thinking
Math: Critical Thinking
Each level has many booklets which get progressively more difficult. This allows a child to fully understand and master the required mathematical concepts before moving on to the next level. After understanding a concept, there are many identical questions for a child to practise on.
When I first flicked through a booklet, I was appalled at the same questions being asked again and again. For example, you will find 1+2 on page 2, page 5, twice on page 7 and again in the next booklet. It seemed like such a waste of time! To my surprise, Lauren didn’t mind it and doing the same equation, again and again, seems to foster the mental sum methodology.
I’m pleased that all the repeated practises using identical numbers are paying off! After over 20 booklets (in two months), at 4 years and 7 months old, she is able to perform simple addition mentally without using her fingers.
How is a lesson conducted at Eye Level
At the start of every lesson, Lauren finds her own folder on the cabinet lined up right outside the classroom. It contains 2 Basic Thinking booklets and 1 Critical Thinking booklets to complete during the class. Those booklets contain the ‘lesson’ for the day. By the way, each lesson takes 60 minutes and it’s a drop-off class.
The teacher explains the concepts and guides her through a few questions. Once she is able to understand the concepts taught, she sits own her own to complete the booklets independently. A child is allowed to approach the teacher anytime if she comes across any difficulties.
If she’s unable to complete all the questions within 60 minutes, she will take those home as homework. It will be completed and returned to the teacher for marking during next lesson.
Bells and whistles and what makes Eye Level different from the others
Now, I’ve only been to Heguru and Youle before this and there may be other enrichment centres which take the same approach that I’m not aware of. Here are what I observed at Eye Level that is worth mentioning:
Student check-in/check-out system
Parents receive an email indicating the time their child arrives at the centre and the time they leave. This is useful, especially for working parents, to keep a tab on when our kids start and end classes.
Develop critical and analytical thinking skills
I like that Eye Level booklets aren’t focused only on boring numeral questions. Lauren loves doing the critical thinking booklets which teach students to recognise repeating patterns, relationships and geometry using colourful pictures, shapes, and coloured blocks.
Foster independent learning
From getting ready for class and how the classes are conducted, Eye Level believes in independent learning. This isn’t a class where you see the teacher is actively talking. It allows students to take initiative and become autonomous in learning.
From time to time, Eye Level organises complimentary parenting workshops. I attended their ‘Maximise Your Child’s Development’ workshop a month ago and I must say (despite the fact that it was held on a Friday evening and I’d rather be anywhere else but a parenting workshop), I’m glad I attended. It gave me lots of insights into a child’s learning development and how we can
Eye Level Community
All Eye Level students receive an Eye Level membership card. The card allows you to enjoy discounts at selected retail and dining outlets such as Concorde Hotel, Miam Miam, Nanyang Opticals, Books Actually, etc.
The syllabus at Eye Level isn’t the same as Singapore MOE syllabus. In a way, it’s good because it’s tailored to a child’s ability and she is able to progress at her own pace, ahead of her peers in school. It boosts a child’s confident because she is able to quickly grasp what a teacher is teaching.
And if a student is behind her peers in learning, it’s great because hopefully, she is able to catch up without feeling lost and left behind in a school classroom setting. Isn’t that the whole point of tuition?
However, I’m always sceptical about doing too much guided-learning with a young child, I question if it is really necessary for a preschool student to attend a school subject based enrichment. For example, now that Lauren could do simple addition mentally, wouldn’t she finds it boring (or even frustrating) when she formally starts school and has to sit through lessons learning a concept she has mastered?
On the other hand, I’m glad Eye Level built her mathematics foundation and I get to know more about her learning style (and weaknesses) through feedbacks from Eye Level teachers. She is rather patient (unlike her mum!), so fingers crossed it helps in her confidence and not the other way around. Only time can tell.
Daekyo Eye Level Singapore