Why We Call Sylvan Darien a Learning Center


 Our local area boasts lots of weekend classes, tutoring programs, test prep courses, etc..  You hear about them all the time. But we at Sylvan of Darien call ourselves a “Learning Center”.  As a parent with a child who has participated in Sylvan programs you might someday be asked why we use such a descriptor.  Please allow us to explain.

Actually, the term learning center well reflects our mission statement at Sylvan Learning of Darien.  Our instruction is always tailored to meet each individual’s needs.  We have no ‘cookie-cutter’ approaches. Our ultimate goal is to help students of all ages fundamentally change how they think, how they study, and how they learn.  In doing so they realize their full potential.
We address different students’ needs with appropriately different objectives.  In some cases the program we offer may be remedial, in other cases it may be enrichment (for students who are ready to handle studies well beyond their current grade level).  Some students come to the Sylvan Learning Center for help in achieving grade-level reading or math.  Others may come seeking a better understanding of some particularly tough concept(s) related to AP courses.  Still, for others, learning is about getting help in structuring an important paper or preparing for SAT, SSAT, ISEE or HSPT tests.   Continue reading


A Sylvan Darien “Graduate” Reflects on his Experience


Reflections & Comments

During his middle school years and then again in high school Matt (an alias) spent time working with teachers at the Sylvan Learning Center in Darien.  In 7th grade his goal involved keeping up with new math concepts and working constructively through homework assignments.  In high school Sylvan helped Matt prepare for his SATs, and on occasion temporarily switched focus to help him master a particularly tough new subject when it arose in one of his classes. How did he feel about it then and how does he view his Sylvan experiences now?  To find out we spoke with Matt by phone from his dorm at an Ivy League University where he is in his freshman year.  We asked:
  • Question: What was your reaction when you first came to the Sylvan Learning Center in Darien?
  • Matt: “In the beginning my parents pushed me into going.  I really didn’t want to be taking another class after the regular school day.  Further, I really didn’t like the intensity of the sessions. Fortunately the teachers were nice and helpful.  I adjusted.”
  • Question: How did you feel about returning to Sylvan in Darien when you were in high school?
  • Matt: “In my sophomore year in high school I took the PSATs. I did great on the verbal score, but I got I think a 52 in math (translates to a 520/800). I knew I needed to improve that score.  My first response was to look at the SAT practice guides on my own.  But I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the material. I knew I needed to get some help.” Continue reading



Sylvan Learning Center Supports “Feed My Starving Children” Campaign


Sylvan Learning Center Supports “Feed My Starving Children” Campaign

Preparations are underway for Darien’s 5th annual Feed My Starving children (FMSC) Mobile Pack Event, to be held on October 19th and 20th, 2013 at Middlesex Middle School.  The event is hosted by Darien’s 11 local churches and co-sponsored by the council for DarienSchool Parents, and last year over 1,000 Darien children and adults gathered at the middle school to pack 240,000 meals!   Local Sylvan students and their families are invited to participate in this unique weekend program, the goal of which is to package 2400,000 meals, nutritionally designed for optimum health, that will be delivered to thousands of starving children across the globe.  Each sponsoring community underwrites the cost of the program (this year $44,000) through various town-based fundraising events.  FMSC and Sylvan will be handing out FREE tubes of M & Ms, which, when empty, can be filled with quarters and returned to the Center. Each tube holds 56 quarters ($14.00) enough to create 73 Manna-Pack rice meals.  Proceeds from the M & M fundraiser will go directly to the support the October Mobile pack Event. Continue reading






Turn a Summer Vacation into a Great School Year!


Tuesday, July 2nd – Saturday, August 24th


       For most children, summer is a time to leave classes and homework behind.  However, when they return to school in the fall after the long summer break, students can find themselves struggling to catch up.

       Skills and knowledge gained throughout the school year fade during the summer months.  Experienced educators all agree that loss of retention begins within a few days of the end of school unless the new information is reinforced for applied within a reasonable amount of time.  After a month without some form of reinforcement, a significant percentage of what students learned during the year can be lost.

A break from school is great for recharging your children’s batteries, but if they are not using some of the skills and knowledge that were learned in the classroom, they could find themselves lagging behind when the school year starts up again.

       Sylvan’s eight-week summer program begins on Tuesday, July 2nd with individualized classes in most academic subjects and test prep. Classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons Additional days/hours are available by special appointment.  Before enrolling in a Sylvan Summer Program, students are given an individualized assessment to determine academic strengths and weaknesses so that a personalized learning profile and program can be developed for each student. 

       For additional information about how Sylvan can give your child a head-start on the next school year, please contact Gwynne or Kathy weekdays between 9 am and 3 pm.or log on to the Center website at www.sylvandarien.com.


Study Tips for Final Exams!



It is that time of year again! What time? Time for students to start preparing for their end-of-year FINAL EXAMS.  Darien High School exams begin Wednesday, June 13th and will continue with two exams each weekday through Tuesday, June 18th.  We have helpful organizational and study tips to promote more efficient and effective use of a student’s study time. By following the suggested steps below, students can not only reduce the stress of studying for their finals, but also be better prepared to tackle their exams with confidence and adequate preparation. The following steps explain how students can avoid that “last-minute cram” by being better organized and having a practical and effective study plan.

  1. The most important thing to do is to ASK your teachers  in the next few weeks what will be covered on the exam. Will the exam cover both semesters, or just quarters 3 and 4? Find all the NOTES you took in and outside of class. If you outlined each chapter and filled in with class notes (Cornell/SQ3R format is the best) you are already organized. IMPORTANT: Make sure you find out if the test is CUMULATIVE (the entire term) or just partial (only the most recent quarter).
  2. Gather all the OTHER MATERIALS you have that relate to the topic you are going to be tested on:

  Arrange these materials, together with your notes and outlines BY DATE.

  1. Now that you have some idea where to start, begin REVIEWING AT LEAST 10-14 DAYS BEFORE YOUR EXAMS. Go back to the first chapter to be tested and look over the vocabulary and the review questions at the end of each unit. Make FLASH CARDS for vocabulary you have forgotten, and make outlines for the questions you were not able to answer without looking back.
  2. REPEAT STEP 3 for all material being tested in each class. We know it soundS like a terrific amount  of work, but that is why you are starting EARLY to avoid last-minute cramming  Use a calendar and create a daily ACTION PLAN to plot out all your individual study times over a seven-ten day study period. 
  3. FORM A STUDY GROUP. Technical subjects that require a large amount of memorization and tedious outlining are often best studied in a small group in which each student responsible for providing the group with specific outlines and review questions.  Group members can then quiz each other and provide support during a stressful time.
  4.  Be sure to ask your teachers about the FORMAT of the test. Will it be primarily essay (long or short), multiple  choice or a combination?
  5. Ask your TEACHERS for extra help. Go early to school or use your study hall or lunch periods to seek out help with reviewing your subjects. Take advantage of every REVIEW CLASS that is offered.
  6. SYLVAN can also provide extra help when preparing for your exams. Our English, math, history, science and Spanish teachers are here to provide support and to answer your study questions or concerns.
  7. Ask your TEACHERS for extra help. Go early to school or use your study hall or lunch periods to seek out help with reviewing your subjects. Take advantage of every REVIEW CLASS that is offered.
  8. SYLVAN can also provide extra help when preparing for your exams. Our English, math, history, science and Spanish teachers are here to provide support and to answer your study questions or concerns.

 By following the above steps, we are confident that students will be better prepared their exams his year. Be sure to give us a call if you want to schedule additional exam prep classes for your child. Good luck!!