Kumon is the world’s largest after-school learning program, empowering children in nearly 50 countries and regions to become self-learners and helping them achieve more than they ever thought they could. Kumon’s math and reading programs for preschool through grade 12 students have helped millions of kids become more confident and succeed in the classroom and in life.
Kumon was founded in 1954 by Toru Kumon, a math teacher who wanted his then eight-year-old son, Takeshi, to enjoy learning math and be prepared for Japan’s stringent college entrance exams. While teaching calculus to high school students, Toru started researching the skills a child needs to excel in high school level calculus. Every day, he gave Takeshi short assignments to complete. These assignments were incremental, allowing Takeshi to master each concept completely before he moved on to the next skill.
As Takeshi got better, parents began to take notice. The Kumon Method was so effective that the young boy was solving calculus problems by the time he entered the sixth grade. In 1958, the first Kumon Center opened in Moriguchi City, Osaka. Sixteen years later, the first Kumon Center outside of Japan opened in New York. The success of Kumon’s math program in the US led to the creation of a reading comprehension program. Developed by a team of literature and reading experts and using the same self-learning model, the Kumon reading program was introduced in 1991.
The Kumon Method is unique because instead of passively receiving instruction from tutors, students actively develop self-learning skills. Each Kumon student progresses at their own pace through a personalized series of worksheets carefully planned by the instructor. The worksheets, which are meticulously designed and fine-tuned, provide examples of how to solve each problem, enabling kids to learn new concepts on their own. Each worksheet teaches a lesson that is slightly more advanced than the one before, so students are less likely to become discouraged.