Pinecone Active Learning
2921 The Villages Pkwy | San Jose 95135 | 408 270-4548 |
Class Hours: Mon./Thurs. 3-7 p.m.
PineconeThe Importance of
Foundation Skills

One of the big problems with all modern systems of education is that they must cater to a large number of students - all of whom have different abilities and potential. In a large classroom, the differences in the learning and comprehension abilities of the students may be huge. So huge, in fact, that some children may suffer because they cannot be given the individual attention they need. This does not mean that they are "slow." It is just that their ability to absorb information may be different from the majority. This difference could mean that their learning ability may be either faster or slower than the average that the classroom caters to. Even an above average student may get poor grades because he or she may become bored with the pace of learning which is too slow to hold interest.

This is where strong foundation skills make all the difference. Let us look at a child's mind as a lump of clay. As the child grows, more clay is added to create a greater mass. This mass is, in theory, is able to absorb more. But size of the brain is not what matters. What is important is how it is used. If the clay remains flat or unformed, a lot of what is put into it will fall off. However, if the clay is molded into a bowl or other shape that is designed to retain what is put into it, the child will learn and internalize more. A pound of unformed clay will not be able to hold as much as half a pound that is shaped to retain what enters it.

The 9 Skills

There are 9 basic foundation skills (physical and cognitive) that a child must have to achieve in the classroom environment. These are:

      •    Integration of reflexes
      •    Sensory integration
      •    Motor skill development
      •    Verbal language skills
      •    Auditory skills
      •    Visual skills
      •    Reading
      •    Writing
      •    Math

Many of these skills are affected, influenced and honed by the environment in which the child exists. And they may develop at different speeds. Just because 9 out of 10 children walk by the age of 12 months does not mean that there is anything wrong with a child who start walking at 14 months. He or she may go on to become a world-class athlete. But perhaps, if more focused help and encouragement had been given, that child may have started walking a couple of months earlier.

Of these foundation skills, it is the last 3, reading, writing and math, that are not naturally acquired. These are skills that must be taught. The way in which they are taught determines how much is understood and retained. That in turn affects all the learning the child will do in the future, because while the first 6 foundation skills are the basic developmental skills (or the clay) that enables understanding and learning, it is reading, writing and math that refines and shapes the clay so that is able to understand, retain and internalize more.

Supporting Foundation Skill Development

Every child will refine and develop foundation skills differently. In some cases, a child may not be comfortable developing these skills at a commonly accepted speed. The topic may be difficult, boring or the mind may be focused elsewhere. One way to provide children strong reading, writing and math skills is to provide them with the personal attention and special teaching that is needed to develop these skills properly and completely. The right way to this is through tutoring. Pinecone Learning does not look at tutoring simply to improve grades. Our reading, writing and math programs are designed to provide children with the strong foundation that will enable them to make their own way throughout school and college life and become productive and successful adults.

Pinecone The Pinecone Way

At Pinecone Learning, we understand that the foundation tools of the learning process that are acquired at a young age are those that will last a lifetime. That is why our tutoring programs in writing, reading and math are geared towards providing children with the ability to master the foundation skills in a comfortable, stress free, yet effective manner. We use a combination of tested pedagogic techniques with cutting edge protocols to make the internalization of these skills a natural occurrence that becomes an integral part of the cognitive process. We present the basic elements of each subject in a step-by-step, sequential manner that is manageable for the students. Categorized topics are used to help them brainstorm for ideas.

Practice helps them to become familiar with the concepts they use. The students are then guided through the refinement stage where they are able to polish their abilities and use what they have learned effectively. The approach is a holistic one with the aim of enabling the children to learn and apply their newly acquired knowledge in ways that will benefit them scholastically and also in life.

Those who want to know more about Pinecone Active Learning will find a great deal of information, including address details, phone numbers and timings etc. on our website -

"We have only been with Pinecone learning center for about 4 months...all I can say is "Why did we not do this sooner" My son is in the 6th grade and has had his ups and downs in math for a few years. My biggest fear was that he would loose his confidence and then be intimidated by math for years to I was. Finding Vivian Hobbs has been the biggest blessing. She is incredibly organized, caring and firm, yet fair with all her students. I have seen so much improvement in my son's homework and classroom focus, not just in math but all areas. I am certain this is do to the skills he has learned from being a part of the Pinecone Learning Center. My son has amazed me with his dedication to the daily homework...this is not to say that he does not complain on occasion. I too have learned so much through this process. In the past I would feed into his complaints about school work and fall into the trap of negotiating with my son about homework and play time. What I have noticed is that now I let him vent and I do not really respond to the complaints. Within a few minutes he hunkers down and gets to work. He knows and I know it has to be done, we no longer fight about homework!!! He has always worked hard, but now I see he has a greater sense of responsibility and ownership. Here is the best endorsement of all... Two days ago my son got a phone call from a classmate who needed help with math homework. After he hung up he came to me and said: "Mom, news is travelling fast. That is the second phone call this week from a classmate needing help with math. They use to call another boy but now they are calling me. (he patted his own heart) and said "That makes me feel so proud!" I cried tears of joy!"

~ Julie M., San Jose, CA

"My husband and I decided to put all three of our kids in Pinecone last January. We were looking for a program that would help improve both reading/writing and math. At the time, our kids were 4, 6 and 8. We noticed an immediate improvement in my 6 year old. Her reading and math turned a corner very quickly. Homework became less of a chore and her math and spelling tests improved. All three of my kids made huge progress while at Pinecone. Sometimes we were faced with the challenge of doing the work at home but, this is nothing new to our household and we found ways to motivate the kids to do the work. What impressed me the most about Pinecone is Vivian, the owner. She knows how to motivate the kids and works extra hard to find ways to meet each and every child's needs. I always felt as if my kids were the only ones... because she gives you that type of attention! She went above and beyond for my guys and for that I cannot say enough good things about the program. She will send you informative emails and is always looking to be current in the education of her students. THANK YOU Vivian for caring so much about my kids and really helping give them a foundation to work with."

~ Lisa A., San Jose, CA
Pinecone Learning - Where Your Children's Tomorrow Begins

childPinecone's methodology is to run the two foundation programs of Math and Reading at a pace which allows the child to assimilate the subject matter and apply the newly acquired skills to practical problem solving. The coaching is structured so that the child is able to reason for him/herself to achieve the highest level of comprehension. Regular practice and support instill self confidence and stimulate an eagerness to progress to the next level. Each student is guided to anticipate and surmount hurdles consistent with present day education. The end result is a happy and confident child who is justifiably proud of his or her academic achievements.

For more details of this Bay Area teaching center and its unique, result-oriented teaching methodology please visit its website at For offers and special discounts call 408.270.4548.
About Vivian Hobbs

Ms. Hobbs is a qualified educator with an M.S. degree in Industrial Psychology and 30 years of experience in math and research design. Children's education and research into the best learning methods have always been at the forefront of her career.

Where can I learn more?

Pinecone Active Learning is on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter. For further information on enrollment and fee structure, please call 408.270.4548 or visit the center's website at

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2921 The Villages Pkwy  |  San Jose 95135  |  408 270-4548