The Origins of the Kumon Method
Half a century ago, the Kumon Method was born out of a father’s love for his son
The late Chairman Toru Kumon developed the prototype of the Kumon Method in 1954 while he was a high school mathematics teacher. At the time, Toru Kumon’s wife, Teiko, asked him to take a look at his eldest son Takeshi’s Year 2 arithmetic studies because she was not satisfied with the results of a test he had taken.
Handwritten learning materials on loose-leaf A5-sized paper
Learning materials created by a high school mathematics teacher for his son
Toru Kumon’s aim was to create a collection of original problems that Takeshi would be able to complete progressively, on his own, allowing him to develop his skills gradually. After much trial and error, he produced a series of handwritten learning materials on loose-leaf A5-sized paper.
Focus on developing strong calculation skills
Mastering calculation is the key to progress to high school mathematics
The primary feature of these materials was the focus on developing strong calculation skills, enabling Takeshi to advance as quickly as possible through to high school mathematics. Based on his experience as a high school mathematics teacher, Toru Kumon was convinced that mastering calculation was the key to enabling his son to later apply other mathematical concepts.
Takeshi, in the 6th grade, reached 11th grade level differential and integral calculus
Starting with addition problems and rapidly progressing to high school maths
In July 1954, Takeshi started studying his father’s handmade materials while he was in Year 2. He began with addition problems and then progressed rapidly until he reached 11th grade level differential and integral calculus while he was in 6th grade.
Kumon believes that all children possess boundless potential
Kumon believes that it is the responsibility of educators to uncover children’s hidden potential
During this time, Toru Kumon continued to create these learning materials on a daily basis so that students could advance as quickly as possible through to high school mathematics irrespective of age or grade. Through this process, the philosophy behind the Kumon Method emerged. That is, the optimum development of each individual’s ability, which is the pursuit of potential. Toru Kumon believed that what was possible for one child was possible for others. Thus, he set out to offer to as many children as possible the opportunity to study with this method.
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