April 15, 2019
In the first few years of life, more than one million new neural connections are formed every second, notes research institute Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child. This means that your little one’s brain is developing at lightning speed, and he or she is soaking up knowledge like a sponge.
Kumon, an international after-school learning programme, recognises this and offers a unique method of individually-tailored “just right” learning to encourage confidence, independence and discipline in its students. Its programmes are suited for children as young as three.
Here are some ways the Kumon method will give your pre-schooler a strong headstart:
The pursuit of math teaches problem solving and reasoning skills, notes Professor Colleen Vale of Monash University in an article on mathematics education. These skills help to develop one’s critical thinking prowess.
Through the Kumon Mathematics Programme, children can develop their math skills by learning to read, write and recite numbers before moving on to simple equations and calculus.
Reading is widely identified as key to the development of a child’s vocabulary and general knowledge.
The Kumon English and Chinese Programmes start your early learner with fun “look, listen and repeat” worksheets which are full of colourful illustrations to help pre-schoolers connect words with familiar objects, before progressing to critical reading and comprehension techniques.
When a child lags behind other students in class, he or she may feel stressed and unmotivated. This is a concern for parents as they may be worried that their children may not be able to cope when they enter primary school.
Kumon notes this concern and helps to adequately prepare your child.
Children first take a diagnostic test to determine their level so that they are started on the appropriate level of Kumon worksheets. Many who initially lagged behind in school find themselves catching up with their peers and often advance beyond their school grade.
Take for example the Kumon Mathematics Programme. Made up of a series of 4,420 worksheets grouped in levels — from kindergarten to pre-university — these worksheets are designed such that students can progress smoothly in baby steps, mastering one concept at a time.
Kumon’s English and Chinese Programmes aim to cultivate a love for reading among its students from young. In turn, good reading skills also help to nurture good writers.
In the English Programme, students are given the Kumon Recommended Reading List (RRL), a list of 380 books that are divided into twelve levels. Each title comes with a short blurb to help students decide which books to choose. All are available in public libraries and online and physical bookstores. Excerpts from the books are also used in Kumon’s English worksheets, which pique the students’ interest in the book.
Through the English and Chinese Programmes, students start by learning basic reading skills and vocabulary before progressing to sentence structure, paragraph building, summary writing and beyond.
Through self-study and the grasping of difficult concepts in the worksheets, students learn the importance of discipline and perseverance. PHOTO: KUMON SINGAPORE
At the Kumon centres, students learn how to follow classroom rules and important study skills such as following instructions on the worksheets and self-learning. Pre-schoolers also develop motor skills as they learn how to use a pencil to scribble, write, and draw.
Through self-study and the grasping of difficult concepts in the worksheets, students learn the importance of discipline and perseverance. For fidgety children with a short attention span, Kumon instructors will try to engage them with the worksheets, flash cards and number boards.
Starting from the centres’ mandatory Parent Orientation prior to enrolment, Kumon instructors work closely with parents throughout the students’ learning journey. Instructors regularly communicate with parents and share with parents what they can do at home to support their child’s learning process. Parents are also given frequent updates on the progress of their child at Kumon.
The Kumon environment is encouraging and nurturing. Its curriculum allows children to experience a sense of achievement, which in turn helps to build confidence and a “can do” attitude.
As no two children are the same, each student is given a set of worksheets which are suitable for his or her learning pace. Whenever new concepts are introduced, clear instructions and examples are given to help the students along. Kumon’s students learn to self-correct mistakes and receive personalised guidance from the instructors to make sure that they understand the topics well.
The goal is to obtain a perfect score on every worksheet. These efforts are aimed at teaching the child the importance of not giving up when they face difficulties in their learning journey. Students also feel a sense of accomplishment when they see full marks on their worksheets. A positive learning attitude goes a long way in developing higher levels of skills such as the ability to concentrate, taking the initiative, creativity and more.
If you are all set to give your pre-schooler a good headstart, sign up at https://kumon.sg for $140 per subject per month (excludes one-time registration fee of $40). It is easy to find a Kumon centre near you as there are 82 centres islandwide and counting.