Mathnasium helps kids take fear out of learning math

By Nancy Eagleton….

Pictured are Mathnasium owners Felix and Renee del Prado.

When it comes to math, kids either love it or “hate” it.

Mathnasium in Sunset Centre offers instruction to elementary, middle and high school students who fit into three categories — those who struggle in math and need to catch-up, those who want to keep up and those who excel in math and want to get ahead.

“Children don’t hate math, but they do hate being confused and intimidated by it,” said Felix del Prado, who owns the Mathnasium franchise with his wife, Renee del Prado. “Our goal is to help children develop confidence, understanding and a lifelong love of math.”

In the welcoming environment of Mathnasium, the pair, along with their highly trained instructors, follow the Mathnasium Method of evaluate, educate and validate. Through comprehensive written and oral tests, a student’s knowledge gaps are determined. Based on these test results, a personalized learning program that includes diagnostics, instruction, worksheets, manipulatives, and games to build number sense is developed for each student.

“We develop a curriculum based on the unique needs of each child,” Felix del Prado said. “If a student has fallen behind, we work to fill in those educational gaps. Because math concepts build upon one another, it’s important to have a strong foundation.”

Parents usually drop off their children at Mathnasium twice a week after school or in the summer for one hour sessions. The teacher-to-student ratio is one-to-four and session costs are typically less than the cost of tutoring, with better results.

“The sessions include learning new concepts while practicing skills the students already know,” del Prado said. “We also spend time reviewing homework and always end with math-oriented games.”

For proof of a child’s progress, Mathnasium relies on the student’s report card, independent tests and parent testimony to measure the improvement in math skills, numerical thinking and attitude.

Parents also may sign up children for individualized homework help sessions at Mathnasium to address a student’s immediate academic needs. In addition, Mathnasium provides customized test prep services for FCAT, SAT and ACT exams as well as entrance exams to private schools, colleges and universities.

Both del Prados are math lovers and have extensive backgrounds in the subject as business professionals and teachers. Felix holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and accounting from Cal State Northridge and a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. He’s been a controller and vice president of finance and has taught accounting and finance at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

Renee, who serves as Mathnasium director of education, received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Michigan State University and holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California. She currently is a certified middle school math teacher at St. Agatha Catholic School in Miami, and prior to that she was a satellite mission planner for Boeing and a software programmer/developer for Xerox, Hughes Aircraft and GM.

Mathnasium is open Monday through Thursday, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon. It is located in Sunset Centre at 9999 Sunset Dr., Suite 101.

For more information, call 305-274-3700 or go online to

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