Luminous Kids Bolton has brought a unique education option to Caledon. Matthew Strader Mental math

Matthew Strader

mstrader@caledonenterprise.com

It was pioneered in Asia in 1993 and today has 5,600 centres in more than 59 countries spanning five continents. And it isn’t the latest pita or cupcake craze. This one’s about making your kids achieve a little more than even they knew they could.

Jalpa Patel operates a Luminous Kids Bolton class at the local UCMAS Mental Math academy in south Bolton. Matthew Strader

Somesh Srivastava, Director of Luminous Kids UCMAS Bolton with his wife, Jalpa, said they were looking for an extra curricular program for their own daughter. When they learned about UCMAS and the program it was introducing to families and children around the world, they not only wanted their children involved as students but decided to become business owners and open the Bolton franchise. Somesh works as an engineer and runs an IT business. Jalpa worked as a microbiologist but did not find the work interesting.

She has a teaching past however, so the business fit their lives. They run the classes during evenings and weekends. Jalpa is able to manage the classes and their own home, a desire of the couple, and Somesh can remain at work during the day and help with the company and its marketing during his down time.

The concept is using visual methods to tap into the faster side of the brain. The human brain has two – a right side, that works with the virtual memory and a left side that works with logical thought. The logical thought side will be active during math, academics, problem solving, etc. The right side during music, listening, auditory skills. Somesh and Jalpa have labeled their business Luminous Kids Bolton. And illuminating is a great descriptor for a visit to this school. Utilizing the ancient abacus, the UCMAS Mental Math program creates a way for kids to begin visualizing mathematics the same way a talented musician will visualize the song in their head, or a professional baseball player will be able to visualize the hitting stroke that will connect with an incoming 95 mph fastball.

“A sports person uses the right side of their brain,” Somesh explained. “The more visualization power can help him hit the fastball.”

As well, utilizing the right side of the brain can lead to much faster results. “In terms of capacity, the right side of the brain is seven times faster,” Somesh explained.

So scientists began to research the difference between the logical and the visual brain. His Luminous Kids program is a product of trying to create a quality educational program that allows kids to visualize math. Mathematics are used so often in our lives, the program creators knew the benefit of being able to visualize and mentally perform complex math prolems at the drop of a hat. And the activation of the right side of the brain will only benefit other parts of life.

The UCMAS program has adapted the traditional abacus into a tool carrying its own unique value system the students learn. Once they’ve mastered the technique, the abacus is taken away from them. And what is illuminated? That the child brain can create wonders. In video example after video example, children can be seen on the Luminous Kids website being given number after number in a list of 12 to 14 three digit numbers. As quickly as the numbers are spoken by the instructor, the children will visualize and add, subtract, whatever the task ahead, the numbers accurately. “Would you ever think a child could work faster than a calculator?” Somesh asked.

Because his school proves each day it’s a possibility, and a very reachable one.

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