Four-year-old Joel channels his energy into structured learning with Kumon
Donika enrolled her son, Joel, with the Kumon Mill Hill Broadway Study Centre shortly after he turned four. We caught up with Donika to hear about the positive changes she’s seen in him so far, and how they kept his Kumon study going throughout the lockdown.
Joel is super active; he has so much energy! I thought if he can sit every day for a set amount of time, it will ground him. But the top benefit so far is the improvement in his speech. His vocabulary has definitely increased, and my family have noticed it too.Donika, Parent
What initially prompted your interest in Kumon?
Joel is bilingual. We speak Albanian at home and his speech development was not exactly slow but there was some confusion, so I wanted to get him up to speed with the English and forming sentences properly. He is also super active; he has so much energy! I thought if he can sit every day for a set amount of time, it will ground him. And it has helped. Doing Kumon every day also allows me to spend structured, quality time with him, as I work full-time.
Had you heard of Kumon before?
Yes, because my cousin’s children study it and they told me it’s really good for maths and English. So, I looked it up online, saw the good reviews for the Mill Hill Broadway centre, and got in touch with the Instructor, Rohini.
How did Joel find his initial assessment?
We did the assessment at the centre in December 2019. Joel is very talkative and friendly, and really confident, so he was happy to sit there with Rohini and Lucia (Head class assistant). Rohini explained to Joel that he’d be coming back once a week, and he said, “Mummy, can I start now?”. The first time he went to class, he walked right up to sit at the front desk!
At the announcement of lockdown, were there any issues with continuing Joel’s Kumon study?
There have been no issues whatsoever. Joel logs in every Monday at 3:30pm, which is his online class time. We also decided to take up a second subject during the quarantine. We’d started with the English programme initially, but always knew we wanted to take up maths as well at some stage. It was good for us because although his nursery gave him activities during lockdown, we are parents and not teachers, so his learning wasn’t quite as good as when he was going to nursery. So having the Kumon study on top was really good for him.
How did you and Joel cope with adjusting to online Kumon classes?
I didn’t understand Zoom so much before, but it’s really good. We log on and speak with Rohini and Lucia first. Joel likes to tell them about his day, and about his new baby sister! After our hellos, Rohini designates us to a breakout room with Lucia, and we angle the camera onto Joel’s work, so that he can just hear her voice rather than see her. I think that’s good because otherwise he’d start talking and telling her things rather than doing his work. He’s able to focus.
What benefits have you seen for Joel from Kumon study?
The top benefit is the improvement in his speech. He talks too much now – he tires me out! When we go out shopping, I can see people laughing as he has so many questions. His vocabulary has definitely increased, and my family have noticed it too. He talks like he’s 10-years-old and it’s quite funny sometimes! Another benefit is his increased memory. Rohini asked us to record him reciting a book for her online awards ceremony, and we chose “What does bunny like?”. I read it to him and I was quite surprised that he was memorising it so quickly. A few months back, he couldn’t have done that. He grasps things faster now. When I read to him at bedtime, he says, “Mummy is this ‘P’?” and, “is this ‘the’?”. He is now recognising letters and words that he’s practised in his Kumon worksheets.
What are the next steps for Joel’s Kumon study?
He will continue with online classes and then it just depends how things are with the centre. Once it’s fine to take him there again, we will probably do that because he can go straight from school and it will be a routine.
Joel often asks me, “Did I do well today with my Kumon homework? Was I super-fast? Are you proud of me?”. He even reminds me when we haven’t done it yet! I have already been recommending Kumon because it’s really helped Joel.