Educational and Learning -The Kumon Method

Many educational programmes focus on different areas, some are better for learning maths, other help promote language and linguistic skills.  However there are a few, that are just as effective in improving all areas of a child’s learning development.

The Kumon method was first developed way back in the 1950’s, by a Japanese school teacher.  Toru Kumon however created a method which is now being taught to well over 4 million students in 40+ countries across the world.  In the UK alone, there are nearly 70,000 student all learning at dedicated learning centres across the country.


They take place in generally unassuming surroundings – church halls, village halls, rented class rooms and sometimes in parent’s flats and houses.  The focus of the programme is to develop learning based on each individual child.  This allows the children to both study at their own pace and to quickly gain confidence in their own abilities.

This is important as children can easily become disillusioned with learning if they struggle, confidence is everything.   The Kumon method doesn’t rely on a traditional teaching method, you won’t find a single teacher standing at the front of the class delivering some boring lesson.  The Kumon method doesn’t in fact rely on the knowledge of the teacher instead promote self reliance – this has the effect of encouraging the children to develop at their own speed.

There are of course, different concepts within the method to deal with individual subjects.  Maths is focused on developing mental arithmetic, there is no calculator or even finger counting allowed.  In English, reading and phonetics are the core skills.  A lot of emphasis is put on reading simply because a child’s performance could be affected in other areas if their reading is poor.

Many educationalists are investigating whether Kumon can play a bigger part in UK schools.  The attraction is that it can be used alongside existing methods as it is an independent learning technique.  Children can study at home and use the classes to check their work, they can also discuss the homework and see if it is at a suitable level.

There is a real impetus behind this method, as it has delivered excellent results for many decades.  There are a number of reports on the British media particularly the BBC and further reading options.  Most are accessible across the world however some of the material on the BBC may require a UK VPN to access.

The method does utilise tests to help assess progress but they are performed in a relaxed environment.  It is important that these do not create stress in the child as that is not conducive to the central aims of the Kumon method.  Many teachers and children report excellent result particularly if a child has been struggling in a particular subject or method.


James Millner is a blogger and online journalist who specialises in education and technology.  If you’d like to see his latest video article – you can see it here – ITV Player abroad.