Japanese studying habits have arrived with the opening of Kumon of Park City. The franchise which got its start more than 50 years ago in Osaka, Japan and has spread to 46 other countries focuses on strengthening math and reading skills through daily exercises and building student's confidence in and out of the classroom.
Randy Carr, owner of the Park City location, was introduced to the Kumon method while teaching in a Japanese high school. In Japan, it is a household learning program with locations on "every corner," Carr described, a tool used by millions of parents.
"Kumon wants to create life-long learners," Carr said, "children that are independent, confident, that will take the method, complete the program and take those skills into life."
Aptly choosing a concentrating face as the logo of the program, Kumon develops studying habits and self-reliance, better students.
"Kids determine the level and pace," Carr said. "Students come up and say 'This is too hard,' or 'Can I do something more difficult?' They are taking ownership of their study, which is very cool."
Students are recommended to visit the Kumon classroom at least twice a week and are required to complete at-home assignments every other day. When walking into Kumon, students are handed a workbook, one of hundreds lining the wall with math and reading exercises ranging from basic counting to the quadratic equation, from alphabet practice to complex reading comprehension. The program is designed for children as young as three years old to high school seniors, and every new student is tested on their first visit to determine what level they will start at.
In a bright, albeit distraction-free, classroom, students complete the workbooks in either or both subjects and then turn the workbooks in to tutors who grade the work immediately for students to correct.
"Self-correcting is a key component of the program," Carr said. "Kids have to master the material. If they are struggling we can step in to help, but they may also need to go back and re-cover the material from previous workbooks until they move forward."
"The worksheets are designed so that students can go back and look at the examples to figure it out," he added. "When they haven't mastered the material 100 percent, we go back. That's why the program works."
While he admits Kumon may not always be the most popular after-school activity, Carr said he is already hearing the success stories from parents since first opening in June. One student was always the last in her class to finish a math test, but on the first math test of this school year she was the third student to complete the test. Another student came in with barely any reading skills, but just a few months into the program, Carr said the child was devouring every Dr. Suess book he could find. It's that confidence and skill-building that Kumon delivers, Carr said.
Kumon got its start in 1954 when founder Toro Kumon realized his son was struggling in math. After inspecting his son's math textbook, he noticed a lot of extra information. creating daily workbooks for his son that built on each other in developing math skills, Kumon saw his son's grades soar.
With a 3-year-old and a five-year-old of his own, Carr is using Kumon with both his children.
"Kumon is an investment in your child," Carr said, "and parents in Park City are responding to that I knew the response would be good in Park City because this is a community that wants to bring the very best resources to their children."
Kumon of Park City
1680 West Ute Blvd., Suite D
The Kumon program costs on average $120 per month per subject.