When evaluating a student’s success, it’s easy to turn to grades as the most logical tool of measurement.
However, the staff of Social Kids, a new enrichment center that recently opened its doors in Milpitas, say social skills and world awareness should be just as fine-tuned as one’s academic performance if one wants to be successful in today’s increasingly interconnected world.
Social Kids, with offices at 500 E. Calaveras Blvd., just across the street from the Milpitas Town Center, just opened for business with its first class of students in January of this year. A ribbon-cutting for the business was just held in the past couple of weeks by the local Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve been quite happy so far,” Anurag Mairal, a senior advisor at Social Kids, told Patch this week.
Mairal told Patch a little more in detail just what Social Kids has to offer local families – and, most importantly, that it’s not just your average tutoring program.
“Social Kids is an excellent program for grades kindergarten through eighth, and it really focuses on social and academic excellence,” he said.
“[Average tutoring programs], we feel those really limit the future of a child,” Mairal said. “As our world becomes more globalized and our children are going to be dealing with a more multicultural and connected world, we felt they needed an awareness and ability to deal with that environment. So, at Social Kids, we not only provide them with academic tools, but also an awareness of the world around them.”
Therefore, in addition to academic enrichment, Social Kids also teaches its students about the global economy, about the social angles of various cultures from around the world, and about the environment, Mairal described.
He said, the program also encourages the kids to interact with each other socially, and use the Internet to communicate with other students from around the world, in order to learn from each other.
In other words, it’s not all about test preparation and grades at Social Kids.
“We think that, in addition to doing well on tests, students really need to have knowledge and understanding of subjects beyond just knowing the answers to the test questions,” he explained.
Social Kids’ first group of students went through a short pilot program at the center earlier this year. Mairal said, there were 10 kids enrolled that took enrichment courses on the weekends for a few months.
He said the first group of 10 children were from various cultures, such as Indian, Chinese and Taiwanese, and hailed from different Bay Area cities such as Milpitas, Saratoga and Cupertino.
“And, we’re hoping to involve children from even more backgrounds as the program grows,” Mairal added.
Mairal said, responses to the first pilot program were very positive.
“We were quite happy with how it went,” he said. “This was supposed to be a pilot program - we wanted to see if our ideas would bear fruit, and we had 10 kids in the first program, and it went very well. Parents seemed really pleased with what we've done.”
“We’re finding that the blend of academic and social [focuses] really works,” he continued. “[The kids come away with] more world awareness and also just have more fun. To them, it feels more like play, rather than work.”
Mairal said Social Kids is planning to offer a summer program on the weekends this year, and in the fall, they hope to add weekend evening classes in addition to weekends, on a year-round membership basis.
At Social Kids, the average 10-week weekend course runs about $495, and the 10-week summer course will run about $700. Mairal said, beginning in the fall, Social Kids will begin offering year-round programs that will run around $200 per month.