Life is not just about getting high scores in exams and doing well academically. In this day and age, many parents are beginning to realise that it is more important to raise a child who loves learning. A thriving child is one who will constantly challenge and raise his or her own bar instead of meeting the expectations set by their parents or teachers.
In order to prepare them for the future, it makes sense to immerse a child in a conducive environment where they can learn critical life skills to enable them to achieve their fullest potential. One learning method that nurtures such an environment is the Kumon Method.
Mr Yosuke Sugawa, General Manager of Kumon Malaysia, explains how Kumon helps form the basics of every child’s development. He says, “We encourage students to learn to solve problems on their own with minimal guidance. This helps build their confidence and equip them with other critical life skills such as self-learning, discipline, confidence, independence, perseverance, and more.”
The teaching of such skills is not limited to the trained educators. Parents obviously have a major role to play in this regard. Read on to find out how you can help your child develop some of these critical life skills outside the classroom.
Contrary to popular belief, children as young as four years old can pick up critical life skills such as self-learning. Mr Yosuke Sugawa points out, “With the Kumon Method, parents can help their children, regardless of their age, achieve their potential by fostering the self-learning mindset, which is the foundation on which the Kumon Method is based on.”
He adds, “Unlike other enrichment centres, we believe in guiding and not merely teaching our students. There’s a difference. We guide our students to understand concepts and apply the concepts that they learnt independently throughout their learning journey in and out of classroom.”
Pn. Siti Zubaidah Bt Hj Abu Bakar is amazed at how the self-learning mindset has helped her youngest son Aiman Shakir Bin Abdul Shukor (11), who has honed more than just his mathematical skills ever since she signed him up for Kumon.
She says, “Kumon has helped him to be a self-learner and enable him to pick up critical thinking skill. In addition, he has become more disciplined and meticulous as he writes his answers neatly and follows the steps accordingly to complete his set of worksheets within the given time. Most importantly, Kumon has helped him to be more focused in his studies.”
Many experts agree that one of the major factors that contribute to the future success of a person is self-discipline. This is a skill that should ideally be taught from a young age, and have it practised consistently both at home and at their place of learning.
Young students who attend Kumon classes are taught self-discipline, such as knowing where to place their belongings, take their seat, obtain their worksheets, complete a worksheet within the allocated time frame and even where to submit their work.
Cathryn Shan Loon Kiew is witness to how her son Owen Chong You Chen (10) has picked up this critical life skill ever since he started attending Kumon. He said, “I have learnt to take responsibility for my own homework, whether it is my school homework or Kumon worksheets, and not wait till the very last minute. In fact, I have also learnt to manage and complete my school work as soon as it is assigned by my teachers.”
The best learning environment is when students are assessed according to their own individual abilities, regardless of their age and school grade level. In Kumon, this is known as the ‘just-right’ level where the instructor evaluates a student’s ability to ensure that they learn and progress accordingly.
This helps the student gain confidence as he or she is able to grasp the syllabus better. Hence, students are able to learn according to their own abilities and not be limited to their grade level in school. In fact, Kumon students are encouraged to study beyond their school grade level, with some as advanced as five years beyond their school grade.
Having begun his Kumon journey when he was merely 5 years old, Owen Chong You Chen (10) was learning at his own pace before progressing to the next level. He said, “When I was 6 years old, I was already one year ahead. Hence, when I started primary school, it was so much easier for me to concentrate and understand my Mathematics lessons. I was also more confident when answering test questions from my school exams.”