Every parent wants their child to be successful. Which explains why many parents are willing to spend the time and effort to look for an enrichment centre that can identify and maximise their child’s potential.
We recommend looking for one where every lesson plan is customised with the respective student in mind and rejects the “one size fits all” mould. The method should also encompass holistic learning, one that helps students achieve their limitless potential, beyond mere academics.
Besides exposing their children to the ideal learning method, parents also play a key role in shaping their future success. As a parent, if you are serious about nurturing your child’s potential, here are 5 tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Cultivate Self-Learning Skills
For a child, learning to be independent is a natural part of growing up. Think of the times when your child attempted to use a spoon to feed themselves or attempted to tie their own shoe laces. These are just some of the basic life skills that every young child is trying to master on their own.
As they grow older, children should be encouraged to pick up critical life skills such as cultivating the mindset of self-learning. This basically means that the child is taught to be responsible for their own knowledge and not to fully rely on the guidance of an adult.
According to Mr Yosuke Sugawa, General Manager of Kumon Malaysia, the Kumon Method is specially designed to guide students to learn independently and not rely on being provided with quick answers when they hit a stumbling block. This encourages them to solve problems on their own, and to only reach out for help if they need to.
Tip 2: Encourage Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking skills are important for solving problems and coming up with creative solutions. Children who are taught such skills not only tend to perform better in their studies, they are also more creative and better at adapting to their environment.
The fact is, it is never too early for a child to pick up such skills. Look for a proven self-learning programmes that gives your child the critical thinking skills and mindset to learn new materials independently.
The Kumon Method, for example, is specially designed to enable students to advance smoothly progressively, learning at a level that is most suitable, known as the “just right” level. The key to its programme is individualised instruction, carefully planned by an instructor, with every plan customised to the respective student in mind.
Mr Yosuke Sugawa points out, “Unlike other learning methods, Kumon instructors do not immediately reveal steps and solutions when a student is unable to answer a question. Students are asked to re-think and reassess the concepts applied, and attempt to identify his or her mistakes and improve thereon. Students are then more confident and would learn more independently, further honing their critical thinking skills.”
Tip 3: Let Your Children Set Their Own Goals
Many children find it easier to accomplish goals that they set for themselves rather than those that their parents or teachers set for them. Hence, the best way to maximise their learning capacity is by engaging in a learning method that allows the children to set their own goals and progress at their own pace.
With the Kumon Method, students are evaluated to determine their optimum level for study, which is referred to as a student's “just-right” level of study. This simply means that the student is placed at a level that is most suitable for them at present. Hence, by continuing to study at a level appropriate to their ability, students become enthusiastic learners and repeatedly experience a sense of accomplishment while increasing their academic ability.
Cathryn Shan is confident that her son’s early exposure to the Kumon Method has helped shape his path to success. Owen Chong You Chen (10), who started attending Kumon classes when he was almost 5 years old, said, “I have learnt to be disciplined in completing my Kumon worksheets and school homework even when I am busy with squash training and preparing for tournaments. I know that if I set my sights on the goals that I want to achieve and work hard, I will have no problem doing so!”
Tip 4: Raise Their Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem is the biggest obstacle to success and unlocking a child’s limitless potential. Fortunately, there are many ways to raise your child’s self-esteem, and the easiest way is by encouraging them to be confident in themselves.
The Kumon Method assesses students according to their individual abilities, regardless of their age, where the instructor evaluates a child’s ability to ensure that they learn at the just-right level and progresses accordingly. This way, the student gains confidence as he or she is able to grasp the syllabus better.
Owen Chong You Chen shares how the Kumon Method has helped him in this regard. “When I push myself beyond my limits, I can get easily tensed up. However, with the Kumon Method, the instructor is aware of my abilities and adjusts my worksheets accordingly to ensure that I am able to complete my work at my own pace.”
He adds, “This has helped me become more confident with myself. As a result, when I am given a harder task, I am determined to think of a solution instead of choosing to give up immediately.”
Tip 5: Encourage Your Child to Realise Their Passion and Talent
One of the secrets to unlocking your child’s true potential is to encourage your child to work for his/her own success and for them to feel proud of their own accomplishment. The first step is to help your child identify his/her passion, as well as areas of interest and talent.
Proud mother of 3, Mrs. Siti Zubaidah Bt Hj Abu Bakar, is a firm believer in nurturing her children’s potential. Her youngest son, Aiman Shakir Bin Abdul Shukor (11), has been with Kumon since he was 6.
She said, “Aiman has been recognised by his school as the ‘Top Mathematics Student’ each year. One of the most significant milestones was when he managed to correctly answer a Form 5 math question (very much beyond his current school grade) effortlessly at the age of 10, without the help of a calculator!”