What is the Biggest Predictor of Success in Children?

What is the Biggest Predictor of Success in Children?

An instructor helps a student while the class practices using both paper and digital worksheets

When it comes to figuring out the biggest predictor of success in children enrolled in Kumon, Frances Jackson knows it isn’t just one thing. It’s a combination of setting goals, friendly and educated Instructors and a tailored education plan that helps create success.

That long-term knowledge comes from her experience with Kumon, first as a student and then parent.

When Jackson was a little girl and struggled to remember her multiplication tables, her parents hung fluorescent writing boards throughout their house to help her memorize them.

When that didn’t work, they tried oral drills and quizzes. But nothing seemed to stick. So, they turned to the Kumon Center of Hudson-Quebec. And while that may have been 30 years ago, she still remembers meeting with her first Instructor, Brenda.

“In retrospect, I believe it’s because it was the first place where I felt a glimmer of hope and that there was someone who could actually help me,” she says. “School only brought discomfort and anxiety. Brenda was warm, friendly and encouraging. She immediately made me feel safe and understood.”

So, when Jackson wanted to make sure her daughter, Audrey, was prepared for entering pre-kindergarten, she enrolled her in Kumon.

“When l look back at my own Kumon journey, I certainly appreciate having mastered my multiplication tables, but what was most impactful for me was the skills that I learned such as focus, memorization and independence,” she says.

Audrey has been enrolled in Kumon for almost a year, and it’s been an eye-opening experience for Jackson.

“I was surprised to see how much the transitions would impact her daily study, such as starting pre-kindergarten, summer vacation with her cousins at a cottage and even the change of seasons,” Jackson says. “I had underestimated how challenging it can be for little humans to navigate the challenges of learning new materials.”

Audrey, like her mother before her, began her Kumon journey at a young age with a placement test. Audrey was very excited to practice her counting and letters with her Instructor, France Grandmont, who spoke with Audrey to build a rapport with her.

“Although I knew that my 3½-year-old would start in 6A 1 Math, I underestimated how important it would be for me to hear the Instructor’s perspective on my daughter’s placement test and her plan for her progress throughout the levels,” Jackson says. “Focus and concentration aren’t skills that Audrey has fully developed but she certainly has a lot of enthusiasm.”

Through the placement test and in talking to her daughter, the Instructor saw that Audrey had difficulty with her attention span and listening. Also, while Audrey was able to count to 50, she was unable to read all of the numbers. The Instructor and Jackson also discussed Audrey’s need to develop fine motor skills, which was evident in how Audrey used her whole arm to write and draw.

These observations and clear communication between parent and Instructor helped develop Audrey’s custom education plan, which included finding certain lessons to begin with to build her mastery of skills. And when it came to the fine motor skills, they focused on Audrey keeping her elbow on the table to help her write more intentionally and to slow down.

“Hearing France’s observations and specific goals for Audrey gave me a clear sense of direction and solidified my trust in her as our Instructor,” Jackson says. “Audrey had such a strong and positive experience from the placement test that as we were leaving, she invited France out for dinner with us.”

After a year in the program, Audrey’s concentration has improved significantly. Her fine motor skills are better and she’s able to write neatly and legibly. But what Jackson finds most important is that Audrey is more confident in her progress in becoming an independent learner.

“As I reflect on how goal setting has impacted my life, the starting point for me was when I first experienced it as a Kumon Student. As a Kumon Parent, I am thrilled to see that my daughter is demonstrating pride and a sense of accomplishment in her work and achievements throughout her studies. Although Audrey is still little and learning the fundamentals of how to learn, I can see how this program is already developing self-learning.”