Ask the Expert: 5 Reasons Your Child Could Benefit from an Academic Enrichment Program
Whether parents hope to have their early learners reading before kindergarten, are looking for a little extra help for their struggling student or want to give their children a competitive advantage in the classroom, there are many reasons why parents seek out academic enrichment programs.
It’s true that children gain a wealth of knowledge from a variety of topics introduced at school, but some students could really benefit from additional academic programs. The goal of enrichment programs is to help students develop a love for learning, while demonstrating proficiency in academics. The programs also help children develop critical thinking skills and effective learning methods.
Have you ever wondered if your children could benefit from an academic enrichment program? Here are five things to consider.
1) Kindergarten Readiness. Each year, four million curious minds enter kindergarten for the first time, eager to start elementary school just like the big kids. But what should kindergarteners know by the first day of school? This question is one of the most frequently asked by many parents of preschoolers. From following directions to working independently to academic skills, readiness for school is one of the most important factors in your child’s academic success. After-school academic enrichment programs, like Kumon, help preschoolers develop important skills, including the ability to work independently, identify sounds and letters, and strengthen fine motor skills. Parents even see their preschoolers showcase improved attentiveness, perseverance and time management.
2) Supplemental Education. If you think your child can do better than he did on his last report card, or if you’ve noticed a decline in his test scores, after-school academic enrichment programs are useful in filling learning gaps. They help children who may be struggling in a traditional classroom setting reach their maximum potential. Specialized programs can help find the root of the problem and then work not only to fix it, but also continue to help the child progress. This results in improved academic performance and attitude towards school.
3) Study Skills. Do you have concerns with your child’s time management skills? Have you noticed he puts off projects or postpones homework? An occasional delay can be expected, but consistent procrastination can be a sign of a larger issue. High-quality academic enrichment programs don’t just focus on the academics. They also help children learn how to learn properly. Throughout the process, students cultivate important work and study skills, like improved focus and concentration, perseverance, confidence and independence.
4) Confidence.It’s natural to be uncertain when learning a new concept. Remember the first time you tried to ride a bike? You probably didn’t feel very confident at first, but over time and with practice, you got better and faster. The key was practice, and like many things in life, practice nourishes success. We all want our children to be confident in anything they do, so it’s difficult when we see our children lack confidence in their academic performance. After-school academic enrichment programs can help children become self-assured, which will lead to more participation in the classroom.
5) Academic Advantage. Do your children complain about being bored in school and show a desire for wanting to learn more? Some academic enrichment programs, like Kumon, allow children to advance based on their ability rather than their age or grade. This can result in children studying above their school grade level. Students studying above grade level usually have more positive attitudes towards school, improved concentration skills, better study habits, increased accuracy and the ability to work independently. In fact, research shows there are many benefits to studying above grade level. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students reading above grade level in the 3rd grade are more likely to graduate from high school, and students who take advanced math courses are more likely to attend and graduate from college.
When schools, families and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school and stay in school longer. Parents can support their child’s educational development by working with educators to support learning. Play an active role in your child’s education by knowing what they are studying and routinely communicating with their teacher.
About the Author
Dr. Mary Mokris, Ph.D., is the manager of the Materials Team at Kumon North America. She began her career at Kumon nearly 20 years ago as the director of a company-owned Kumon Center, instructing 200 math and reading students in Atlanta before being relocated to Kumon’s headquarters in Teaneck, N.J. Dr. Mokris led Kumon’s Reading Team, and worked to develop and revise the reading curriculum, which covers materials from preschool to high school. Prior to joining Kumon, Dr. Mokris was a tenured Associate Professor of English Language and Literature at Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska, for six years. Dr. Mokris holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, a master’s from the University of Chicago, and a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She also spent five years teaching at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro College and High Point University. Dr. Mokris is a regular presenter at conferences and symposiums and has published numerous articles in a variety of academic publications.