Frequently Asked

Questions

How do we get started?

If you are interested in joining Bright Minds:

  1. Send us an inquiry to speak with one of our administrators, request more information and set up a virtual assessment.
  2. Schedule and confirm an online assessment with one of our experienced math and/or literacy teachers.
  3. Go to our Registration Portal and create your family profile. Once your email address has been confirmed, you can log in to register for the courses of your choice.
  4. Receive important information via email to join classes and pick up your child’s class materials.
What is Bright Minds ?

Bright Minds offers mathematics and English Writing enrichment and classes for children aged 5 and up for math and Grade 2 and up for Writing. Students attend weekly classes and receive homework in materials unique to the Bright Minds program. Students have the option of attending in-person or online classes dependent on their skill level and class availability.

We offer optional online or in-person daily Homework Help sessions in order for students to receive extra support outside of their scheduled class times.

How is your program different from other tutoring programs?

Bright Minds more than a tutoring program. Learning takes place in a small group environment which has students engaging in collaborative and creative activities.

In mathematics, we foster deep understanding by augmenting our curriculum with brainteasers, lateral thinking riddles, puzzles, questions from math competitions, and thinking games. The results are students who become creative thinkers and strong problem-solvers, and not just in mathematics.

We acknowledge each students’ ability to work at their own pace in order to stay challenged and engaged.  We both allow and encourage each student to progress at a pace that is best suited to their abilities.

 

Our Writing program encourages students to be engaging storytellers and confident at creating narratives. As students progress through the levels, they will also acquire the necessary skills to become proficient informative write.

While class time will primarily be spent building writing skills through enrichment activities, we will incorporate grammar, spelling and vocabulary as these go hand-in-hand. The curriculum and materials being introduced are in-line with those currently being delivered at Renert School and many other Canadian schools. Our goal is to focus learning in a way to create the most impact. 

How is your Writing Program different from your former Literacy Program?

In September 2024, we are launching our new curriculum in which we will focus more on building WRITING SKILLS with our English students. Our new program encourages students to be engaging storytellers and confident at creating narratives. As students progress through the levels, they will also acquire the necessary skills to become proficient informative writers. 

We know that writing can be intimidating, and being able to express oneself clearly takes both patience and practice. In the new Bright Minds Writing course, we divide a complex process into manageable steps that give students the ability to write with confidence. Writing fearlessly is our goal and motto. We believe our classes will ignite your child’s imagination! 

  • While class time will primarily be spent building writing skills through enrichment activities, we will incorporate grammar, spelling and vocabulary as these go hand-in-hand.
  • Access to reading comprehension home practice will also be provided as we recognize that this is an area many students struggle with.
  • The curriculum and materials being introduced are in-line with those currently being delivered at the Renert School and many other Canadian schools. Our goal is to focus learning in a way to create the most impact. 
  • Students joining our Writing program should possess basic reading and writing skills.
  • Assessments will only be offered to NEW students going into Grade 2 through grade 8 in the 2024-25 school year. 
  • Returning students will be assigned new materials based on their current levels. 
Do you offer online classes?

Yes we do. Parents have clearly expressed their preference for online class delivery, combined with the ability to attend in-person open study halls (also known as Homework Help sessions), as needed. Classes for older students will be delivered through Zoom, in order to allow for flexibility, greater access, and to minimize driving time for the parents.

However, for our youngest students in-person learning is also highly sought after. In 2024-25 parents will have the choice of online or in-person weekly classes.

Students may join us online daily for homework assistance in Homework Help sessions, be it  for school math or Bright Minds math or Writing homework. For students living in North West Calgary, we offer regular in-person Homework Help sessions and access to our tutors.

Weekly online Chess and Math Competition Clubs are available for interested students at no extra cost.

What other Enrichments are you offering Bright Minds Students?

We are offering the Bright Minds Chess Club for students at all levels of chess. This is an integral part of the program and does not cost any extra to attend. Our chess program also includes participation in chess competitions and tournaments.

We offer regular Math Competition Club (MCC) sessions via zoom. Any student interested in honing their math competition skills by strengthening their analytical creativity and logical reasoning skills are encouraged to join us for our training sessions. There is never any pressure to participate in formal competitions but the opportunity is available to students that wish to compete. There is no extra cost to join MCC sessions.

Bright Minds students in Grades Kindergarten through Grade 5 also have the opportunity to sign up for our in-person summer camps which are a fun mix of both Math & Writing related activities.

What is 'Serious Fun'?

Serious fun is the Renert way of getting kids to love LEARNING. Serious fun is when challenge is in line with a students abilities, and learning happens because activities are engaging, interesting, and fun. We take our program delivery very seriously but weave in essential fun which keeps our students coming back year after year.

How is Bright Minds Math different from the math my child learns in school?

For students in K-Grade 9, our innovative curriculum emphasizes mental arithmetic, deep mathematical understanding, and creative problem solving. We do not give kids grades or marks; we only assess to determine what your child’s needs are in order to provide appropriate support and challenges. We encourage students to explore mathematics as they learn it. Most of all, we have fun with mathematics – playing games, tackling challenging problems, and having deep and interesting discussions are a big part of what we do.

For Advanced students working above grade level we continue to engage and challenge their learning through high school level material and beyond.

Once students reach High school age (Grade 10+), most transition to our high school Credit Courses and Online Math Homework Help sessions. See our sister website www.renert.com for more information.

Who is Bright Minds for?

Bright Minds is for any student who is motivated, has a keen mind for learning, and is willing to practice daily to acquire a skill that will serve them for life.

Ongoing, daily, deliberate practice—whether it is music, sports, English Writing or Mathematics—is absolutely necessary to improve and master a skill.

While we have many students who are advanced in their skills we likewise have many that struggle and have minor learning disabilities. Since Bright Minds is a skills based program and we do our own assessments, we meet our students where they are (regardless of their grade in school) and move forward with their skills development from there.

All students joining the Bright Minds program must be able to participate in class in a meaningful way without disrupting the learning of their classmates. Bright Minds does not provide in-class student aids. If you are unsure if Bright Minds will be a good fit for your child, please discuss this with one of our office staff prior to booking your assessment. Some student accommodations may be possible while others may not.

Is my child too young or too old to join?

Since students are grouped by skill level of understanding rather than by age or grade, we encourage parents of children of any age to inquire about the program.

We are currently working with students starting as young as 4-5 years old up to high school age in the math program and Grade 2 through 8 in our Writing Program.

Do you offer day-time classes for home school families?

Yes! Starting in February 2023, we are opening morning online Math classes and math flex tutoring sessions for home school families. We hope to expand this to Writing students dependent on demand. Please let us know if you are interested when you fill out your inquiry form.

My child hates English and/or math. Why would bringing them to Bright Minds help?

When children dislike English or math, it’s generally because they have not been challenged by it at the right level. This happens all too often in typical schools. If the work is too easy, it becomes tedious and boring. If the material is too hard, it is embarrassing and frustrating.

Since Bright Minds is a skills based program and we do our own assessments, we meet our students where they are (regardless of their grade in school) and move forward with their skills development from there.  Students in the math program are encouraged to work at their own pace. So long as they show they understand the material we will not hold them back and will give then new materials as soon as they are ready. We aim to have the ideal learning environment in our classes and if a group is either moving to fast or too slow for your child, we will offer different class options to suite their own pace.

At Bright Minds, we are dedicated to giving kids the right challenges and proper support, and we do it in a way that is engaging and fun. This results in building confidence in students that have been struggling and providing a needed challenge to those that are craving it.

My child is behind grade level in math and/or English. Can they join the program?

We are sensitive to the needs of all students who come to us for help, and so, while we place students in groups based primarily on their ability, age and maturity level are also important factors.

Since Bright Minds is a skills based program and we do our own assessments, we meet our students where they are (regardless of their grade in school) and move forward with their skills development from there.

Many of our students have come to us after years of difficulty with math and/or English in school. So, we can almost always find an appropriate peer group for your child.

 

Why does my child need to have an assessment before joining the program?

We strongly believe that children should be placed with peers who are like-minded in terms of ability and skill-level. This is the key to getting the most out of the class time, and for students to have a good experience.

Since the Bright Minds program is unique, our assessments bare no reference to grades in school and are simply a tool to allow us to to place your child in a group that is best suited for them in terms of ability and the Bright Minds level they are working at. We do not give kids grades or marks; we only assess to determine what your child’s needs are in order to provide appropriate support and challenges.

We schedule separate online assessments for the Math and Writing programs for children who wish to join both courses as our assessors are specialists in their respective fields and know the class groupings in these courses best. This is essential in providing you will the best possible class options to choose from based on the assessment results.

What does the assessment cost?

We do not charge separate fees for assessments as the sole purpose of our assessments are for placing students in appropriate Bright Minds classes. We consider the assessment fees to be included in the tuition upon registration in the program.

What do we need to bring to the online assessment and how long will it take?

Students should come to their online assessments with a pencil, scrap or lined paper and an eraser.

We will provide all of the materials and workbooks your child will need after they have been assessed and placed in a class.

Assessments can take anywhere from 15-60 minutes depending on the age of the student. Parents should allow the student to perform the assessment independently but be nearby to receive instructions or discuss results afterward.

Do you offer trials or drop-ins?

We do not offer any free trial sessions, and there are no drop-ins available. Trials are highly disruptive to the students already working hard in our classes and one trial class is not enough time to make an appropriate judgment on the program. Real benefits come from long-term engagement.

How big are your classes?

Our classes typically have between 5 and 10 students. Larger classes will always have instructors and assistants working in tandem to ensure each student gets the attention they need. We cap our classes at 12 students but most are not at capacity as we are always opening new classes as demand increases.

Our family has a tight schedule. Is there a class at the right level and at the right time for my child?

We have many classes available at all levels and are almost always able to accommodate busy family schedules.

While students work best with others who are at their own level, it is not necessary that they be at exactly the same book to work well together. In fact, each of our classes accommodates a range of levels which means we often have several class options available to families joining the program.

Once your child’s assessment is complete we will offer several class options for you to choose from.

What does my child need to bring to class?

Most importantly students should come prepared to work, engage and participate in their classes. Students also need pencils, an eraser, a ruler, some scrap or lined paper and their Bright Minds workbooks for their online  classes and Homework Help sessions.

If attending an in-person Homework Help sessions, students must come prepared to work in their Bright Minds workbooks, and bring pencils, erasers and scrap or lined paper. No food or drink other than a sealed water bottle are allowed in in-person Homework Help sessions.

What happens if we miss a class? What if we miss a few classes?

When students miss a class, they are expected to catch up on all materials covered while they were away; as they would when they miss a class at school. Each of our classes are unique and moving at their own pace so make up classes are not possible. Luckily, we offer plenty of support to keep students on track.

Parents are provided with teacher email addresses so you can let your child’s instructor know you will be away or if you wish to inquire what was missed in class. Homework Help sessions (available online and in-person) are the best way to keep up with homework and seek support, whether you’ve missed classes or not!

What if my child has questions about Bright Minds assignments during the week?

All students registered in the Bright Minds program may attend any or all of the Homework Help sessions we offer.

Parents are also encouraged to contact their child’s instructors via email at any time to seek clarification or ask questions.

Who are your teachers and what are their credentials?

Our instructors are experts in English and mathematics. We do not have any generalist instructors in Bright Minds. They typically hold university degrees in English, mathematics or science and are passionate about teaching their respective subjects. They are deeply knowledgeable and committed to the intellectual growth of their students.

Do your students participate in math competitions and contests?

We prepare students for and offer opportunities to participate in math competitions as we believe it is a great way to learn mathematics and to test their abilities. Competition preparation is one of the best ways to become good problem solver.

In 2024-25 we will continue to offer our Math Competition Club (MCC) regularly online. This is an additional session for students interested in honing their math competition skills and strengthening their analytical creativity. Participation in the BM MCC is included in your Bright Minds registration fees.

What kind of results have you seen in students who join Bright Minds?

Learning new skills does not happen by osmosis. Ongoing, daily, deliberate practice in an engaged and supportive home environment—whether it is music, sports, English or mathematics—is absolutely necessary to improve and master a skill.

Over the years, we have seen excellent results from the vast majority of our students who were committed to the program. Students who consistently attend their weekly lessons, seek support through our Homework Help sessions and complete 10-30 minutes per day of homework, it is common that within a few weeks of joining students are starting to feel more confident and at ease at school. After a few months our math, parents are telling us that the child is becoming one of the strongest in their class at school, and they are growing to like the subject matter. It is common for students who attend Bright Minds for 2-3 years to be far ahead anything that they do at school.

Developing writing skills is a complex process and can take years to develop. Students who approach it with a positive attitude, put effort into weekly homework and attend Homework help sessions will see significant improvement over the course of their time in our program.

What does tuition include?

Tuition for the Bright Minds program includes everything Bright Minds has to offer: weekly classes, online and in-person Homework Help sessions, direct instructor contact, Chess Club, Math Competition Club, and all assigned materials.

Outside of the weekly classes, all other activities are completely optional and students can take advantage of them as often as they like.

Our placement assessments are also included in the tuition fees.

How long do the classes run and what are the tuition fees?

Bright Minds is a full school-year program. Classes begin in September and run until Mid-June. We do not offer classes per month, term or semester. Real, measurable benefits come from long-term engagement.

We offer multiple-course discounts to families who register in more than one course or have siblings in the program. We also offer a full-payment discount to families that choose to pay their fees in full.

Early Bird discounts are available to families who register with us in the spring/early summer for the new school year.

Because we perform detailed assessments and track student progress throughout the year, we are able to enrol students all year long. Our fees are pro-rated for families who join us during the school year.

Please contact us to discuss our yearly fees and discounts that may be available.

Do you offer classes in the summer?

Bright Minds is a full school-year program. Classes begin in September and run until Mid-June.

We do not have weekly classes during the summer months however, families that register for the new school year in spring and early summer will have access to online Homework Help sessions, new materials and other events we have running during the summer.

We have 2 weeks of summer camps planned for existing Bright Minds students in July of 2024! Register with us and you will receive information on our summer camp offerings. (Sorry but these camps are not open to the general public).

Who can register for Bright Minds Summer Camps?

We offer full-day, week-long Math and Writing summer camps to existing Bright Minds students who will be in Grades 1-6 in September of 2024. So, Bright Minds students currently in Kindergarten-Grade 5 may register. These camps are exclusive to Bright Minds students wether they have been with us for many years or newly registered (but they must be part of the Bright Minds community to participate).

We split the camp into half-day math activities and half-day English activities. We get outside as much as the weather will allow and provide fun and engaging activities targeted to keep their brains sharp and avoid the summer slide!

If you are new to Bright Minds, send us an inquiry so we can give you more information on how to sign up for our program and get access to our camps.

What if my child doesn't like it? What is your cancellation policy?

Cancelation Policy:

No refunds or partial refunds will be issued for payments already processed barring a major family circumstance (which would be considered on an individual basis).

That being said, we work hard to make sure your child has a great experience in our program. There are many things we can do to give them the best chance of success. Just a few of them include:

1. Engaged, supportive parents at home are key to student success. Miracles do not happen by placing students in a class for one hour per week. Parents need to be supportive and engaged in their child’s Bright Minds work.
2. If you have any concerns the first thing to do is to talk to your child’s teacher. You know your child best and they can provide you with feedback and advice if your child is struggling.
3. Because Bright Minds is a full school-year program and we are together for many months, we know things may change over such a long period of time so our administrators are happy to work with you to find solutions  should the need arise. We encourage all parents to reach out to our staff so we may assist.
Do you offer referral bonuses?

Yes! The majority of new families that join Bright Minds are from members of the Bright Minds community referring them  and we love to say thank-you for spreading the word!

New families are encouraged to indicate the names of the parents that referred them to our program on their registration form so that we can send their friend/family member a $100 bonus! To be eligible, the referring family must be currently registered in Bright Minds. Bonuses are offered per family (not per student) referred to us. 

It is not uncommon for families to receive several bonuses each year.

How do we get started?

If you are interested in joining Bright Minds:

  1. Send us an inquiry to speak with one of our administrators, request more information and set up a virtual assessment.
  2. Schedule and confirm an online assessment with one of our experienced math and/or literacy teachers.
  3. Go to our Registration Portal and create your family profile. Once your email address has been confirmed, you can log in to register for the courses of your choice.
  4. Receive virtual meeting links and other important information via email to join classes and pick up your child’s class materials.