Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten

by gurumommy on May 17, 2011

in hot topics

This article from Sunday Styles about Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten by tutoring kids as young as 3 years old to ‘prepare’ for Kindergarten is sure to get lots of attention! Kate Zernike writes that:  ‘Research suggests that there is little benefit from this kind of tutoring; that young children learn just as much about math, if not more, fitting mixing bowls together on the kitchen floor. But programs like Kumon are gaining from, and generating, parents’ anxiety about what kind of preparation their children will need — and whether parents themselves have what it takes to provide it. For those whose idea of enrichment is introducing “Buenas Noches, Luna” into their toddlers’ bedtime reading ritual, this is yet another reminder that no matter how much you do, there is always some other program that — who knows? — just might mean a difference.’ But still tutoring centers like Kumon are popping up ‘In New York, where the company is colonizing storefronts like so many Starbucks, enrollment in Junior Kumon has tripled since it began opening centers in 2007.’

“Age 3 is the sweet spot,” said Joseph Nativo, chief financial officer for Kumon North America. “But if they’re out of a diaper and can sit still with a Kumon instructor for 15 minutes, we will take them.”

While worksheets are considered soul sapping in the schools where many Junior Kumon parents aspire to send their children — the kind of affluent places holding screenings of “Race to Nowhere” — at Kumon, they are the essence of the experience. Repetition, derided elsewhere as drill and kill, is considered the key to developing concentration.

PARENTS pay $200 to $300 a month for their 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-year-old to spend up to an hour twice weekly being tutored at a Junior Kumon center — 20 to 30 minutes each on reading and math. Children are then expected to do 20 minutes of homework on each subject every day, with their parents guiding and grading them. Recommended reading lists start in preschool with “Goodnight Moon” and “Each Peach Pear Plum.”


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