I have been doing Kumon for three months now and feel very happy that I started at the age of three.


t f B! P L

My son started Kumon at the age of three and it has been three months. So far, he is progressing well without any major stress.

Apart from Baby Kumon, three years old is probably the minimum age to start Kumon in many classrooms. So this time, I would like to explain the progress and how the child is progressing in the first three months of Kumon, and provide a reference for those who are planning to start Kumon and for families who also started Kumon in early childhood.

Hopes before joining Kumon

In my family, we wanted our children to learn Kumon in three subjects: Japanese, arithmetic and English. I had high expectations that Kumon would have a great effect on learning in all subjects.

Looking back on my own experience, I also felt that there was no merit in adding more subjects in the middle of the school year. I started with Japanese and maths and then English, but I was not willing to work hard on English at primary schools level when Japanese and maths had already progressed to high school level.

Therefore, we told them from the time of the trial class that we wanted them to learn all three subjects. However, there was an unexpected limitation in starting Kumon from early childhood.

English and arithmetic could not be started from the beginning of enrolment.

In Kumon, the progression of the material is represented by letters of the alphabet. I started Kumon in grade 5, so I remember that my first Kumon materials were D materials (equivalent to grade 4).

However, in Kumon, the alphabet of the very first material is different for each subject.

The starting point is Japanese in the foreground, while the 8A material starts with playing a song, and solving printed problems comes much later. This is why teachers may recommend that you do not start with maths or English when your child is still very young.

It is true that it can be difficult to introduce them to English and maths at a stage when they are not yet able to speak. I agreed with this explanation and decided to start learning Japanese at home.

So when do you start maths and English? There seems to be no strict decision, but we were told that we would be called upon when they had progressed to 6A in maths and 2A in Japanese in English. In my family, it was suggested that we start trial maths when the children had progressed to 6A in Japanese.

Opinions differ widely on how to think about English education, especially in the early years. However, if you start Kumon at an early age, you do not necessarily need to decide on your stance towards English education at the time of enrolment.

I found out about the existence of the ZunZun teaching materials.

Another thing I did not know before starting Kumon was the existence of Zun Zun.

Zun-Zun is a material for practising handwriting and is explained in more detail below. Before actually writing letters and numbers, the students practise drawing the lines correctly themselves.

Review of the effectiveness of Kumon Zun Zun! It does more than just improve your handwriting.

ZunZun is available from Z1 to Z3, but after about two months, the printouts are no longer available. The classroom teacher will probably give it to you as an option depending on your need. It is not often that we have the opportunity to practise handwriting skills in a formal way, but the ability to write letters quickly and accurately is a skill that is not limited to Kumon, and cannot be underestimated when taking up writing on the board at school or cram school. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I became much better at writing lines, even in a short period of time.

Progress report after having them learn Japanese and arithmetic

Up to this point, I have explained the areas that were different from what I had expected before starting Kumon. At present, he is doing Japanese and arithmetic, but there were areas where it was easy to progress smoothly and areas where it was easy to get stuck in each subject. From here, I will write about my impressions of the actual Kumon experience.

In Japanese, the three-word sentences are the most difficult part.

In Japanese, the three-word sentences were a difficult point. My child was a boy and tended to be a little slow with words, but I think he still had a lot of words by the age of three. He also learnt two-word sentences quite easily.

Three-word sentences, however, were not so easy to come by. This is probably due to the fact that when I speak to my children, I don't often have the opportunity to speak in sentences of three or more words. It is not easy to say, "The apple is delicious", but it is not easy to talk to them and say, "The red apple is delicious". This is an area where it is rather easy to get stuck if you start Kumon at the age of three.

Identification of 1 to 10 as a blockage in arithmetic

In arithmetic, it seemed to be difficult for the children to recognise 1 to 10 correctly, and they were able to count from 1 to 10 in order surprisingly quickly, perhaps because it felt like singing a nursery rhyme. However, it seemed difficult for them to understand that the symbol for '7' was 'na'.

At least in Kumon, the timing for understanding letters as symbols comes earlier for numbers than for hiragana. Japanese already has three-word sentences, but rather than reading hiragana, the nuance of reading sentences aloud with parents is stronger. And numbers are found in many places in everyday life, so there are many opportunities for children to see and try to read them.

As much as possible, teach your child which symbol is which number at the right moment when he or she is interested in it. They may get it wrong dozens or hundreds of times, but if you teach them repeatedly, you will gradually see results.

Now we have moved beyond single-digit numbers and are dealing with more numbers up to around 30, and once they get past 10, their understanding is so much smoother than it was before.

Education in non-cognitive skills expanded by recognising numbers

When children are able to do arithmetic, the number of concepts they can handle increases significantly.

In everyday conversation, being able to handle numbers greatly expands the scope of conversation. How many snacks do you eat, how many times do you do it, what time of the day is it? These are all concepts that are relevant to daily life, and you can work on helping them to understand them, even if they don't understand you.

The same can also be said for primary school entrance examinations in the classroom. The children were able to go beyond simply being able to do counting problems to playing games such as backgammon and cards, and working on their short-term memory from the point of 'how many xxx'.

The younger the child, the more important it becomes to develop non-cognitive skills. This is because knowledge itself is not useful until much later in life. Training in number concepts plays a major role in training non-cognitive skills.

Parents do not want their children to dislike studying

As adults, it is easy to get a bad image of studying, but children are just as interested in Kumon as they are in any other play activity. Essentially, knowing something they don't know is a fun act, and the competition and peer pressure that comes with it probably leads to a pattern of disliking studying. So most children who are new to learning do not dislike learning that much, although their interest may be strong or weak.

Also, in nursery schools and kindergartens, children have not yet begun to study in earnest, so the factors that cause them to dislike studying are less likely to emerge. Therefore, it is the parents who are most likely to be the cause of the child's dislike of studying at this stage.

However, getting young children to do Kumon requires patience on the part of parents. I myself do not have a job that requires a lot of overtime work, and I think I have more resources to devote to my children, but I find it quite difficult to get them to do Kumon every day. Spreading the burden within the family will certainly be required. At home, I share the responsibility of dropping off and picking up the children and studying at home with my husband and wife.


I have realised that it is arithmetic that is most likely to be effective in the short term. This is also true in early childhood, and even after they get a little older, I think it is a very clear advantage of Kumon that they can calculate faster.

However, I think that it is the Japanese language that will have a long-term effect. I believe that being able to read sentences quickly and accurately is an asset for life, not just for entrance exams.

I hope to continue to work on Kumon in the future.