Superior Media recently sat down with Shelly Skinner-Noel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario’s Kumon owner and Certified Instructor to discover what Kumon is all about.
“Kumon is a mathematics and reading program for children and youth starting at age 3. I have three, 3 year olds enrolled right now.” shared Shelly Skinner-Noel.
Kumon originated in Japan, and is named after the mathematics teacher that founded the program. Children improve their skills in the subjects of English and Mathematics by completing worksheets of increasing difficulty. Kumon’s goal is to build study habits, concentration and a strong understanding of the fundamental topics.
Based on the assessment, an individualized program is developed which includes daily assignments.
Skinner-Noel stated that a parent orientation takes place as well.
“Students would come here twice a week for thirty minutes . It’s important that the young people are doing their assignments daily at home. Through continuous Kumon study, students become self-motivated, independent problem solvers. Daily Kumon study helps boost confidence and improve study habits, providing benefits that last a lifetime.” she said.
Kumon seeks to unlock the potential of children by helping to build a strong foundation in math and reading. The Kumon program aims to guide children to a point where they not only reach their grade level, but surpass it. Each work sheet teaches a lesson.
“When the family comes in – I give them goals to set for 1 month, 6 months and 1 year. We don’t follow a high school curriculum per se , we have our own curriculum. I have some students who come to me for remedial help as well as enrichment support.” she said.
“Our motto is ‘Kumon knows your smart – Kumon makes you even smarter’.”
The company’s North American headquarters are located in Teaneck, New Jersey, USA.
‘Kumon is a worldwide organization founded in 1958 and is operated through franchises.
Kumon franchisees must have a four-year college degree. Kumon has a massive global footprint with more than 26,000 franchise units worldwide; 2,100 of those being in North America and 1,500 in the United States, making it the fourth largest franchisor in the world. Kumon has been recognized by ‘Entrepreneur Magazine’ as a 2016 ‘Best of the Best’, and has been ranked at the top of its industry category for 18 years – 15 of them consecutively.
Kumon is an after-school math and reading enrichment program that unlocks the potential of children, so they can achieve more on their own. As a comprehensive program, Kumon serves children in preschool through high school. Founded in Japan in 1958, the learning method uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. Through daily practice and mastery of materials, students increase confidence, improve concentration, and develop better study skills. Kumon has 26,000 centers in 49 countries and more than four million students studying worldwide.’ www.kumon.com
“I learned about Kumon through a friend when I wanted to look for something for my son . He had been exclusively learning in French Immersion and I wanted to find a way to get him caught up in reading English.” shared Skinner.
“There was a great deal of training to participate in before I could take it over. I travelled to Toronto for training and interviews and New Jersey twice before I was granted my franchise license.”
Potential franchisees go through a rigorous vetting process.
“I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years , I’ve taught with the Algoma District School Board as well as at the Urban Aboriginal School.”
“When I took over the franchise in November 2016, Kumon was operating out of the John Rhodes Centre. Since that time, I’ve opened the classroom here.”
Kumon is located at 140 Northern Ave just beside Prime Cut Meats, and opened at the present location on Feb. 14th, 2017.
“I’m the instructor and I have several assistants. We help the young people with problem-solving. We don’t give them the answers but rather help and encourage them to find those answers to get to them on their own. Everything all their work is corrected to 100% while they’re in the classroom.” said Skinner-Noel.
“At Kumon we have early leaning, primary and main ‘categories’ in the classroom – which doesn’t signify any particular age. When children first come in we start everyone in primary to assess their level. We want to make sure that they understand all of the procedures and general flow of the classroom. Our learning environment is very goal directed. In the ‘early learning’ component there is a 2 – 1 ratio for children to assistant.”
Skinner-Noel currently has students enrolled that are part of French immersion and have never learned academically in English. “Students move forward based on their abilities not on a ‘grade level’ or age.”
Skinner-Noel said that she also has a Special Education Specialist.
“The children begin their learning journey with Kumon at a comfortable starting point. We want them to be successful.” she said. “We’re working towards mastery and making sure that each child can gain confidence as well as develop learning routines.”
Skinner has an in-house incentives program that the young people really like. Classroom times are 3 – 7 pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Excerpt from Kumon’s April newsletter:
‘Matea joined Kumon on October 1, 2016. She is in grade 5 and is 10 years old. She started in the 2A level and was very meticulous about her work, which made her a bit slow. Our main goal was to speed her up. She quickly moved on to A1. Here she gained more confidence in herself. It was near Christmas time and her mom said that she participated in a church pageant. She went up to the front of the church and recited a poem in French. She would have never had the courage to do this even 6 months ago. Kumon has improved her confidence immensely. Her teacher has noticed as well. Mom said that they had a private tutor for 3 years and it never helped her as much as Kumon already has in 3 months. Keep up the great work Matea!!’
A Grand Opening and Open house is scheduled for May 6th, 2017, 11 am – 2pm.
To learn more about what Kumon can offer your child’s learning journey – call Shelly Skinner-Noel, Certified Kumon Instructor, Monday – Friday at (705) 759-0072.
Visit Kumon Math and Reading Centre of Sault Ste. Marie here: www.kumon.com
Refer a friend to Kumon – refer.kumon.ca/ – Receive a $25 gift card and your friend will receive 50% off the registration fee.