Perhaps you’ve seen Kumon‘s charming “thinking face” logo around the island, and wondered what was going on inside its doors.
The short answer: a lot!
The slightly longer answer: The Kumon Method was started a half century ago in Japan, when a father, Toru Kumon – who was also a teacher – devised a way to help his own young son, Takeshi, excel at mathematics, despite Takeshi’s previous struggles.
Seeing his son’s success, Toru shared his method with other children in their neighbourhood, and in 1958, established the first Kumon centre in Osaka. Today, Kumon is the world’s largest leading enrichment provider, offering learning opportunities in more than 50 countries and regions.
Toru’s original teaching method – allowing children to advance at their own pace through a series of calculation problems on loose leaf papers – has evolved into Kumon’s worksheets that work. In addition to its popular Mathematics Programmes, Kumon now provides Language Programmes, too.
But, beyond simply improving your little one’s academic skills, Kumon helps students become independent, resilient learners. Find out more in the gallery below!
Research by Blackbox commissioned by Kumon in 2018 shows that most parents understand that social skills are important in the long run. The skills that parents said they want their children to have are:
- Building Confidence. Being brave enough to speak up and ask questions.
- Communication Skills. Having the ability to voice their thoughts and discuss problems and solutions with their peers, teachers and parents.
- Social Skills. Being able to make friends and socialise, which helps to build their networks in the future.
- Self-Motivation and Independence. Understanding the importance of education and not needing an external push to study.
- Passion for Learning. Enjoying the subjects enough to want to find out more and do well.
Believing that all children possess boundless potential, Kumon’s aim is to make any child smarter through self-study beyond his or her school grade level. Yep, you read that right!
How does it work? While Kumon caters to children aged 1.5 years on up to 16 years, many parents introduce their children to the Kumon Method between 4 and 10 years old. The starting point for each Kumon student is determined individually, regardless of his or her age or grade in school. Rather, it is where he or she can easily obtain a perfect score of 100 (like the happy little boy, shown at top!).
When studying at this “just-right” level, students think for themselves and complete the exercises. When they get stuck they look at the hints and examples incorporated in the worksheets and figure out themselves how to do the exercises. This fosters the ability to learn on their own, or “self-learn”.
So, maybe you believe or have heard that worksheets are bad or ineffective. Know this: Kumon’s are different than the rest.
Kumon worksheets are specially designed to enable children to advance smoothly in small steps while learning at a level that is most appropriate for them. Clear examples and explanations are always given, which encourages students to advance independently.
What’s more, using information collected by observing students’ reactions to the worksheets, as well as ongoing feedback from the instructors, Kumon constantly evaluates and revises the worksheets for all of its programmes.
The Kumon Mathematics Programme consists of 4,420 worksheets with 20 levels and five elective courses. They are structured around essential elements for the study of high school level differential and integral calculus, allowing children to progress as quickly as possible on their own to high school level mathematics!
Likewise, Kumon believes that good writing comes from good reading. And, its Kumon Language Programmes – for both native and foreign language learners – set out to instill this love of reading.
The native language programme aims to equip students with an advanced level of reading ability, whereas the foreign language programmes (specifically, Mandarin in Singapore) cultivate a high level of reading comprehension skills.
It’s understandable! JICYW, the classes are only $140 a month per subject, regardless of age. There are more than 80 Kumon Learning Centres around Singapore, so there will surely be a convenient location for you and your family.
Interested in enroling? Click here to enquire today.
By Sara Lyle Bow, May 2019
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