I don't know how my child is doing at school. Can you help?
Yes we can. The initial assessment will give you our view of where your child is working in relation to their year group at school.
Is the assessment an impartial appraisal?
We're here to help you make an informed decision about what's best for your child's learning. Whether we find that your child is working behind, ahead or at about the right level, we'll tell you. If, based on the results, you decide your child doesn't need tuition at this stage, that's great, and fine by us. In fact, that's why we charge for our assessments — because they are a service in themselves; for more on this see below.
Can my child come for an assessment without starting tuition?
Absolutely. As mentioned above, one of the reasons we provide comprehensive assessments is to help you make decisions about your child's education, and/or to keep you updated on their progress. So, you're more than welcome to just do the assessment on its own.
Does my child really need tuition?
In our experience, almost all kids benefit from tuition. The reasons for this are many and varied but because our system ensures our students learn at the optimum level for their needs, you can rest assured tuition will be a worthwhile investment.
Who Does Marley Perkins Teach?
Do you teach children who are already doing well?
Yes, we teach children who are excelling at school. Many students working at an advanced level feel, or their parents feel, that they have more potential and could move faster in their learning. Our initial assessment will give you our view of your child's level and what the next steps are.
My child is really struggling. Can you help?
Yes, we work with many students who are working well below National Standard. When some of our students come to us they are operating at a level two, three or more years below target. For these children, the sooner they start tuition, the sooner we can help them catch up, but of course it's never too late!
My child is working at an average level and school says he's doing fine. How can tuition help?
Many of our students are in this position at school. Often, they are doing fine, but they feel that because they don't stand out as needing help, they are not getting as much attention as they would like in the classroom. Tuition can help these students build skills and confidence.
Even with extra support at school, my child is finding it hard. Can you help?
Yes we can. As mentioned above, we can and do work with children who are well behind. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that tuition may require a long-term commitment for these children.
Teaching and Learning at Marley Perkins
What is the duration of each lesson?
Each lesson takes about 60 minutes.
How often does each student attend?
Students attend their lesson once a week at the same time every week.
What happens in a Marley Perkins lesson?
The format of a session usually follows this routine: we start by marking previous homework together and discussing if necessary. Following this, we do a warm-up or maintenance activity, then it's into the main lesson where we learn new concepts and produce new work.
How long will it take to see results?
The time it takes to see substantial progress varies from student to student, as people learn in different ways and at different rates. Some parents see a noticeable change after two or three lessons. For most children to see lasting results, we recommend at least two school terms.
Do Marley Perkins students get homework?
Yes. Homework is an important component of our system and completing it is expected as part of the commitment to tuition. It's essential for students to revisit concepts and processes outside the tuition environment. More on this below.
How long does the homework take to complete?
Marley Perkins homework is designed to fit in with your busy family schedule. To complete it should not take long — perhaps 20 minutes a week. From time to time, literacy students will have longer pieces of writing exercises to complete such as stories or essays. These will require more time to complete.
When should homework be done?
Marley Perkins homework is designed to fit around your schedule, with these things in mind:
- For best results, homework is best done about midway between sessions. For example, if your child attends a lesson on a Monday, it would be ideal to complete the homework on Thursday.
- If recall and retention are an issue for your child, do the homework bit-by-bit throughout the week. Each time, select one or two questions from each activity.
- Spelling and basic facts should be practised on at least three separate days per week. Each practice should only take a few minutes but frequency is critical to the memorisation process.
- Homework is not as effective if completed immediately after a lesson or just before the next one.
Should parents help with the homework?
We cannot emphasise enough the importance of parental support when it comes to learning. It can make an enormous difference to the effectiveness of both schoolwork and tuition. Here are some tips on how to support your child or children with homework.
- Encourage them to attempt it on their own first.
- If they get stuck, prompt them to revisit their class notes — this will often be enough to get them back on track.
- Guide them with questioning and suggestions but don't do the work for them — it's important for the teacher to see what they're achieving independently. (There are some exceptions when working with young children — see below.)
- Avoid teaching them alternative strategies and methods to the ones being taught — children need to practise one thing at a time and trying to learn other techniques at the same time can cause confusion.
- When publishing a piece of writing, you can help with typing and design as much as you like. Making it a team effort can be fun and help emphasise the child's success in the completing the piece.
Working with young students
Children at Year 1 and 2 level often need parental supervision throughout to complete their homework.
When working with young students on their reading, our general rule of thumb is to let them do the work themselves but keep in mind that the understanding and enjoyment of the story should take priority.
- If she gets stuck on a word, let her try to figure it out first.
- If she's still unsure, prompt her to use the strategies she has learned.
- If that doesn't work, read the word yourself so she can carry on with the story.
- Likewise, if she reaches a part of the story where there are several unfamiliar words, let her decode one or two, then read that passage to her.
- Follow a similar principle when working on other tasks that involve reading, such as punctuating a given sentence – read the words to her if necessary to allow her to focus on the object of the exercise, which is punctuation.
It's important to model reading to young children, so feel free to share in the task of reading the story. You can read in unison, or take turns, as long as the student is doing a good proportion of the reading herself.
Dates and Information
Do you open on the same dates as schools?
We work to the official state primary school dates set by the New Zealand Ministry of Education. Our dates may differ slightly at the beginning and end of the year. You can find this year's tuition dates here.
Are you closed on public holidays?
Yes, we are closed on public holidays, including ANZAC Day and the Easter period from Good Friday through to Easter Tuesday.
What dates do private school students attend?
Like many after-school activity services, we work to the state primary school terms.
Private schools sometimes finish their term earlier or start later than state schools. When this happens, our private school students still attend their Marley Perkins lesson at the usual time in the relevant week of their holidays. You can find this year's tuition dates here.
If you're going to be away, please let us know and we may be able to arrange a catch-up lesson before you go.
Conditions of Tuition
What if we have to miss a lesson?
Continuity is really important for learners. Missing lessons interrupts learning and can reduce the effectiveness of tuition.
However, if for some reason it's impossible to attend a lesson, we offer a catch-up system. Please let us know if your child is going to be absent and we may be able to provide a catch-up lesson. However spaces are limited and NOT guaranteed, so if you're able to give us plenty of notice, you have a much better chance of securing a spot.
Can we change times partway through a term?
By agreeing to attend at a particular time, you book that timeslot for the entirety of the term. This means your child's space is booked for the term and cannot be changed. Please ensure that your child has no conflicting commitments before booking in. We do not refund missed lessons. Depending on availability of spaces, it may be possible to change your time for the following term.
Consistency in group classes
Consistency is really important for children's learning, which is why our students will have the same teacher, room and classmates, and follow a similar routine each week.
However, there may be occasional variances, such as another student temporarily joining the group or there might be a change of teacher one week. These are usually minor logistical variances and should have minimal impact on your child's learning – in fact sometimes may even provide an advantage.
When a new term begins, there may be a change of teacher and classmates. However, where possible, we do try to keep things consistent across terms too.