At SMARTS Club, creative thinking is at the center of every lesson, owner and founder Meenakshi Singh said.
This methodology started when Singh could not find an after-school program in Frisco to suit her daughter’s audible and visual learning style. She took it upon herself to start a tutoring and education center in 2011 that customizes curriculum for each child’s interests and learning styles.
“I just want to help the kids,” Singh said. “That’s all I have in my heart.”
As a former teacher at Frisco, Plano and Little Elm ISDs, starting SMARTS Club was right up Singh’s alley. The former biology teacher sat in for a weekly radio show on FunAsia 104.9 called “Smarts at 4,” where Singh suggested science experiments for listeners to try.
The radio show’s title inspired SMARTS Club’s name, with the acronym standing for Science, Math, Arts, Reading, Technology and Social Skills.
After eight years, SMARTS Club offers a variety of after-school, tutoring, robotics, yoga, chess, language, leadership and test-preparation programming at three locations in Frisco, with its central location along Main Street. It also hosts summer camps and workshops throughout the year.
The business serves students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
Many SMARTS Club activities are competition-based. Students can participate in Lego building, robotics and chess competitions, Singh said. Even when they lose, she said SMARTS Club students benefit.
“When you fail, you learn more,” Singh said.
Singh crafts SMARTS Club’s curriculum in line with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills educational standards. However, Singh said lesson plans are ultimately dictated by a child’s individual needs.
“It’s very child-centric ... very learning style-dependent,” Singh said.
Singh developed an algorithm called SMARTS Score to indicate where a student falls in accordance to TEKS. This score then helps her create test-preparation lessons for any national exam, she said.
As TEKS changes, Singh said her curriculum is “continuously changing” as well. As such, SMARTS Club does not abide by booklets and only provides printed worksheets with the most up-to-date lessons.
“Once you have those printed materials, you’re bound to whatever is printed, and you cannot change your curriculum,” Singh said.
Singh said she is constantly on the lookout for the latest research to make learning interesting for SMARTS Club students. Whether it be through yoga, reading or robots, Singh said she aims for learning to be fun for her students. Creating a positive environment is key, she said.
“If the kids find something engaging, they love to learn it,” Singh said.
SMARTS Club - Three locations
4280 Main St., Ste. 500, Frisco
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 3-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-3 p.m., after hours by appointment
5353 Independence Parkway., Ste. 300, Frisco
Hours: Mon.-Thu. 3-7 p.m., Fri. 3-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
8780 Preston Trace Blvd., Frisco
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Sun.