Category : News

Neither too hard nor easy, Kumon’s ‘just-right’ level of learning


A core approach of the Kumon Method of Learning, is to provide each student with work that is at the ‘just-right’ level, the point between work that is too easy and too hard. This allows each student to stay motivated and make strong progress in their learning.

Kumon can be said to utilise the Goldilocks Effect through the approach of the ‘just-right’ level of learning. The Goldilocks Effect is an analogy to the character of Goldilocks and her preference for porridge that is neither too hot nor cold, but is the ‘just right’ temperature for her. It is used in a wide range of disciplines, including developmental psychology, biology, astronomy, economics and engineering. [1]

For example, in their book The Grand Design, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow used the Goldilocks Effect to explain the ideal distance for a planet to be positioned from a star to sustain life. [2]  In child development, it can refer to providing children with material that is neither too easy nor hard to maximise learning. [3]

Kumon Instructors, who create and update individualised study projections for each student, maintain the ‘just-right’ level for each student. Through their monitoring and observations of each student’s progress, they assign the worksheets that students are ready to learn next. Instructors also regularly communicate progress with students and their parents.

These actions help create the specific conditions students need to continue making strong progress.

“As long as we discover the potential of each student and ensure they study at the ‘just-right’ level, then each child will progress at a rate that will surprise not only their parents … but also themselves,” said Toru Kumon, the founder of the Kumon Method.

Should you wish to learn more about Kumon and the ‘just-right’ level, please contact your nearest Kumon centre:


[1] Colman, A. M. (2008). A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[2] Stephen Hawking, L. M. (2010). The Grand Design. Random House USA Inc.
[3] Pintrich, P. R. (2006). Understanding Self-Regulated Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 3 – 12.

Alan continues his advanced Kumon Mathematics study, virtually


Virtual study with Kumon provided 6-year-old Alan a flexible way to continue his strong learning progress throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alan has been enrolled into Kumon since he was in kindergarten. He studies the Kumon Mathematics programme two years ahead of his school grade level. Once the COVID-19 pandemic reached New Zealand and Australia, his father Dhinesh transferred Alan from in-centre to virtual study.

“I have my elderly parents living with me, so I and my family wanted to cut down the risk of exposure to COVID as much as we could”, Dhinesh says. “I think that was the key factor in our decision to have Kumon completely at home.”

Alan, meanwhile, says he really enjoys studying Kumon at home with virtual support.

“It’s really, really quiet and with no distractions and it makes my dad spend more time with me,” Alan says.

Virtual study involves Alan attending virtual classes once or twice a week. In addition, he studies his Kumon worksheets for a small amount of time each day at home. His parents support by marking and recording the results.

Alan’s Instructor supports by creating an individualised study projection, providing regular progress updates to his parents, and assisting Alan to solve a difficult problem when he can’t work it out for himself.

Alan would like to be an astronaut when he grows up.

Some Kumon centres throughout Australia and New Zealand are offering options for virtual mathematics and English study. Should you wish to learn more, we welcome you to contact your nearest Kumon centre.

Ginger and Saxon continue making strong progress via virtual study


Due to the combined virtual and in-centre support provided by Kumon during COVID-19, siblings 9-year-old Ginger and 11-year-old Saxon continued to make strong progress in their learning.

In 2020, Ginger and Saxon transitioned to virtual study of the Kumon Mathematics and English programmes. During this time, they attended virtual classes once or twice a week, and studied their Kumon worksheets for a small amount of time each day at home.

While it was a sudden change in study modes, it benefited both siblings.

“At home [my learning environment] is kind of more relaxed. There’s not a lot of distractions here,” Saxon says.

Ginger agrees with Saxon. She says virtual study improved her concentration.

“You don’t have distractions, it can help you concentrate, and you can do it by yourself”, Ginger says.

Chris, Ginger and Saxon’s father, says while it took a bit of time to settle into virtual study, it proved to be flexible and beneficial for the family.

“A lot of the marking and recording was handed over to us”, Chris says. “It brought us challenges some days, but after a while I think I got into a routine of marking regularly and recording the results. And our Instructor kept in contact.”

“We diligently kept going through it all. The Instructor checked in a lot to see how the kids were travelling.”

Ginger wants to become an archaeologist when she grows up. Saxon hopes to join the military.

Ginger and Saxon are now both attending some in-person classes with Kumon. Throughout their period of virtual study, they continued to make strong progress. Some Kumon centres throughout Australia and New Zealand are offering options for virtual and in-centre mathematics and English study.

Should you wish to learn more, we welcome you to contact your nearest Kumon centre.

New edition of Potential magazine out now!


Together, we overcame a challenging year. For our first edition of Potential magazine, we reflect on 2020 and share our hopes for a bright 2021.

We hope you enjoy this digital copy of Potential. 

Kumon Mathematics and English is now open in Halswell, Christchurch!


Kumon has come to Halswell, Christchurch, to support all children to develop their mathematics and English ability.

Kumon Halswell Education Centre will be operated by Instructor Saree Lawler, who also leads a Kumon centre in Papanui. Saree says the conversations and interactions she had with students and parents at Kumon Papanui motivated her to open a Kumon centre in Halswell.

“My connections with Halswell are mainly through my existing students, several of which live in the area and often ask if I would ever deliver in Halswell,” Saree says.

“Kumon will help the Halswell, Aidanfield, and Wigram communities by offering them a choice to come to a centre nearest to them. These communities have many young families who have big academic aspirations for their children. I can see Kumon helping bring those dreams to reality.”

Kumon Halswell is located in the Hao Room at The Library at Te Hapua, 341 Halswell Road Christchurch, Canterbury, 8025. Classes are scheduled for Wednesday afternoon between 4:15pm and 6:15pm, and also on Saturday afternoons from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.

Should families wish to enrol or learn more about Kumon Halswell Education Centre, they are welcome to contact the centre via this link:

Mangere students prepare for their futures, now


By building a solid foundation in mathematics and English, students from Kumon Mangere Education Centre are widening their options for pursuing their goals and interests in later life.

Sisters Bella-Rosa Lealiifano, 11 years old, and Losaline Lealiifano-Salakielu, 10 years old, both study the Mathematics and English programmes at Kumon Mangere. They both say Kumon helped them with school and boosted their confidence.

“I’m now really good at maths”, Losaline said. “I can assist my classmates and try to explain how I can come to the answers of my work.”

Bella-Rosa said she is more confident now than when she started Kumon.

“I don’t have to rely on anybody to really help me, and I am more motivated and keener to do all my work”, Bella-Rosa said.

Since Losaline and Bella-Rosa are growing in maths and English skills, and self-confidence, they believe persevering with Kumon will give them more choice later in life.

“I will be able apply myself to anything that I’m interested in, without the worry of issues like my written English not being at an acceptable standard.  I will also be able to apply for a job that requires good mathematical knowledge and understanding”, Losaline said

“I hope that with any opportunity that I come across; I have the confidence to give it my best attempt.”

While Bella-Rosa and Losaline do not yet know what they would like to be when they grow up, they would like to pursue a career involving mathematics.

Olivine Lealiifano, Bella-Rosa and Losaline’s mother, said Kumon will help her daughters to pursue their interests.

“There are jobs out there that you won’t know about until you’re in college”, Olivine said. “These are the years for Bella-Rosa and Losaline to acquire skills in English and maths. This is so when they get to college, and they see these other careers, they can pursue them without feeling restricted or incompetent.”

Florence Fakaongo, 7 years old, is also a Mathematics and English student at Kumon Mangere. She hopes to become a teacher when she grows up.  Like Losaline and Bella-Rosa, Florence said Kumon is helping her develop the confidence she will need to reach her goal.

“Kumon will help me to be able to solve problems and to focus on my studies when I go to high school”, Florence said.

Nanisi Fakaongo, Florence’s mother, said the extra support her daughter is receiving for her education will be of great benefit for her future.

“I believe it is important to support and invest in education, because it is one of the most important tools you can receive”, Nanisi said. “The more knowledge you can gain, the more opportunities will open up to allow you to have a good career and experience personal growth.”

Florence, a student from Kumon Mangere.

The future is always uncertain, but students can keep on learning


The COVID-19 pandemic forced sweeping change to how learning is delivered to students. Many students in Australia and New Zealand have been required to learn at home at some point throughout 2020.

This disruption has prompted the widely asked question, “What is the impact of COVID-19 on children’s learning?”

It is a question not only parents might be asking in relation to their own children, but also teachers, principals, university-based education professors and other experts; education department officials, and government ministers. It prompts many hypotheses and theories. It seems there is not yet a clear answer everyone can agree upon.

This doesn’t mean we cannot work to minimise disruption to children’s learning. With the right toolkit, current and future generations can be equipped to be ready to keep learning through uncertainty. In our article about Sandhya, a former Kumon student and future University of Oxford student, we quoted Professor Andrew Martin, an educational psychologist from the University of New South Wales.

Professor Martin stated students will feel empowered to keep learning through uncertainty if educators are able to draw learners’ attention to what is in their control: the effort students apply to their studies, their strategies, and their individual attitudes towards learning.

Kumon draws students’ attention to the impact of their efforts through assigning the right level of practise and repetition. Kumon helps students to develop self-learning strategies for acquiring and applying new knowledge. Advanced study through Kumon boosts confidence, an attribute that is conducive for navigating uncertainty by encouraging students to ‘have a go’.

These are components of a toolkit that Kumon can help students to develop to keep learning through uncertainty. They’re not the only tools students can use. Dr Katrina Barker, an education expert from Western Sydney University, says individualised approaches to learning are helpful for supporting students during times of uncertainty.

Dr Barker says individualised learning not only allows students to learn at their own pace, it requires students to develop and apply self-regulation, self-discipline and the ability to learn independently. Being an independent learner will help students to keep learning through uncertainty, as they can place trust in their own abilities.

Kumon is an individualised method of learning that supports students to become independent, self-learners.

All Kumon students require support at various different times, depending on their level of independence. For those not yet able to learn independently, they require support, from both parents and educators, to ensure they can continue to learn through uncertain times.

“It helps [for parents] to set a week day routine, and build in time for school [and extracurricular learning], work, exercise, and free time”, explains Associate Professor Penny Van Bergen, an educational psychologist from Macquarie University.

“This provides a sense of normalcy, and communicates to children when you will and won’t be available.”

Kumon Instructors support students by creating an individualised study plan for each student, and sending home the worksheets they are ready to learn next on their own. For students who attend face-to-face classes in the Kumon centre, Kumon Instructors provide in-person instruction and guidance. Students on entirely home-based Kumon programmes also receive instruction and guidance, but remotely through electronic means.

“All children intrinsically want to develop their abilities and they all have the potential to do so. Responding to these desires, thus helping them to grow without limits, not only makes the children and their parents happy, but is essential for society”, wrote Toru Kumon, Kumon’s late founder, in Yamabiko, a publication for Kumon Instructors.

Kumon is a learning method that supports students to keep learning through uncertainty.

Support is provided by Kumon Instructors directly to the students who may need it, while capable students are allowed to keep progressing independently. Parents are supported and encouraged by their Kumon Instructors to help their children to make progress through their learning.

The future, by its very definition, is always uncertain. COVID-19 heightened uncertainty by adding new layers of complexity and unpredictability to everyday life. But with the right tools, students can continue to make strong progress in their learning, in spite of uncertain times.

This article featured in our last edition of  Potential magazine. We invite you to read the magazine to learn more about how Kumon has supported students through uncertainty. 

Kumon Mathematics and English comes to Pukekohe, Auckland!


Kumon Mathematics and English is coming to Pukekohe, Auckland, to support all children to develop strong calculation and reading comprehension ability.

Kumon Pukekohe Education Centre will be led by Karen Ng, a parent of four Kumon students. Karen was inspired to become a Kumon Instructor after witnessing Kumon’s benefits in her own children.

Karen hopes all children in Pukekohe will be able to grow in their learning through Kumon Mathematics and English.

“Kumon will help children in the community to realise their potential by nurturing their self-learning and independent learning skills”, she says. “I hope to build a close relationship with and contribute to the Pukekohe community.”

Kumon Pukekohe Education Centre is located at 19 Manukau Road, Pukekohe, Auckland, and will be open from 3:30pm to 6:30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Should you wish to learn more, we welcome you to contact Karen on 027 222 3400 or to email

Three ways Kumon Instructors contribute to their communities


During these uncertain times, the Instructors and franchisees of Kumon Australia and New Zealand support their local communities by building businesses that provide high quality, afterschool maths and English learning for children of all ages.

We are seeking to expand Kumon’s contribution by opening new franchises in new communities. If you would like to learn more about how Kumon Instructors contribute to their communities, we invite you to read on:


1. Providing students with a foundation for their future

Kumon Instructors provide students with a foundation for their future. Instructors achieve this through individualised instruction of the Kumon Mathematics and English programmes, which develop strong mental calculation and reading comprehension in students. These skills, along with the confidence students gain through Kumon, allow students to become self-learners who do not have to rely on a teacher to access new knowledge.

Supporting students to make strong progress to complete the Kumon Mathematics and English programmes is the core of the Instructor’s role. Throughout their long careers, many Instructors in Australia and New Zealand have helped hundreds of students in their local communities to become confident self-learners.


2.  Building relationships within the local community

Kumon Instructors build positive relationships within their community each and every day. Throughout each class, Instructors communicate with and establish a connection with their students. Similar connections are built with students’ parents during consultations, parent orientation sessions and regular contact regarding their child’s progress.

When Instructors market their franchise business, they build relationships with the wider community. Relationship building activities include participating in community events, corresponding with local schools, running business social media accounts, and advertising through local and regional media channels.

As Instructors also hire centre assistants, Kumon Instructors can hire locals and build relationships as they train and develop their employees.


 3. Sharing ideas and experience in a community of business owners and educators

Kumon Instructors are part of a community of over 300 franchisees across Australia and New Zealand. Kumon Instructors network, celebrate achievements and learn from one another. Instructors contribute to the Kumon community by sharing their knowledge and experience for the benefit of all, as well as making long-lasting friendships.

Throughout 2020, Kumon Instructors and franchisees have supported each other by actively participating in online workshops and seminars. In June, the first ever online Kumon Instructor Awards Ceremony was held, with more than 200 Instructors joining to celebrate each other’s achievements. Instructors and franchisees not only support their local communities, they support one another to succeed.

Kumon Standard Completion Time: the hidden benefits for your children


Have you ever been curious to know why your Kumon Instructor asks your children to write their start and finish time on their worksheets? Or what bearing these times have on the worksheets your children will be given next?

At Kumon, there is a measurement we refer to as Standard Completion Time (SCT). This is the time range in which we aim for students to complete their daily worksheet study as they progress through Kumon.

SCT provides concrete information to your Instructor about your children’s overall familiarity with the worksheet content. It is one of several key criteria Instructors use to determine whether students have the necessary skills to advance without difficulty.

When studying in centre or at home, we encourage you to guide your children to always write the start and finish time on each worksheet set.

We encourage you to keep reading this article to learn more about some of the hidden benefits of SCT for your children:

1. Your children’s work skills are seen and nurtured

Standard Completion Time provides a way for the Instructor to more fully understand your children’s work skills. If your children are able to complete a high volume of worksheets with a near perfect score in a short amount of time, we consider your children to have strong work skills. By writing their start and finish time on their worksheets, your children’s Instructor can know how quickly your children are working and can understand how comfortable your children are with the worksheets. The Instructor can determine what worksheets your children should complete next to further draw out their skills.


2. Your children experience the feeling of working with focus

We know children sometimes like to take breaks when completing worksheets. Guiding children to be aware of their completion time can help them focus and concentrate as they complete each worksheet set. If your children are focussing it is likely their pencils will constantly move as they work smoothly and quickly.


3. Your children’s learning is individualised

If your children complete their worksheets within the SCT, this indicates they are learning at the ‘just-right’ level, the area between work that is too easy and too hard.  The SCT provides your Instructor with the necessary insight to always give your children the worksheets they are ready to learn next. When setting the next worksheet set, your Instructor will consider factors such as how quickly your children are able to work through their corrections, overall study attitude, and their constantly changing ability.

Your child’s next worksheet set is always matched to their current ability, not according to their age or school grade. SCT provides your Kumon Instructor with a clear indicator of your child’s current ability.


4. Decreasing completion time indicates increased confidence

The time it takes your children to complete a worksheet will become shorter with daily practice. When students begin to study with increased speed, this indicates they are acquiring the skills necessary for study up to that level.  This also provides your children with a feeling of accomplishment. When your children have mastered these skills, they will do the worksheets with ease, and finish them in a short time while still working carefully and thoroughly.

If you have any further questions about your children’s worksheets, we welcome you to speak with your children’s Kumon Instructor – they would love to hear from you.

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