Saturday, August 9, 2008

Learning life skills through Kumon

"Learning life skills through Kumon"
Sun.Star Davao, Aug. 9, 2008

Dabawenyo student achievers Katrina Mae Santos, Kimberly Yap, Angelique Louise Tan, Neil Jonathan Nadua and Jasmine Elaine Go, are outstanding children every parent dreams of—smart, responsible, diligent, and disciplined.

Seventeen-year-old Katrina is currently a Management Engineering student at Ateneo de Manila University. She was the class valedictorian of her Ateneo de Davao University-High School batch 2006-2007, and a recipient of the Fortes in Fide Excellence Award, Gerry Roxas Leadership Award as well as the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Award for Academic Excellence and Leadership.

On the other hand, Kimberly graduated from Davao Christian High School as class valedictorian in English and first honorable mention in Chinese. After studying BS Industrial Engineering in Ateneo de Davao University for two years, where she was a consistent dean’s lister, 19-year old Kimberly is presently taking up Bachelor of Accountancy at the Singapore Management University through a scholarship by the Singapore Government.

Just like any other teenager, 17-year old Angelique loves Internet surfing, reading books and listening to music but even with these interests, she never neglected her studies at Stella Maris Academy of Davao where she graduated as a Merit Awardee and was recognized as Best in Math, Acting and Dancing. Angelique is now taking up BS Management Major in Legal Management at the Ateneo de Manila University.

De La Salle University Chemical Engineering student Neil is not only a consistent dean’s lister, but also a sports achiever. At Ateneo de Davao University-High School, this talented 18-year-old had a blackbelt in Taekwondo, served as team captain of the Taekwondo Varsity, and had won several regional and national competitions. He was likewise a member of the Badminton Varsity.

As a freshman and sophomore student at Ateneo de Davao University-High School, Jasmine often served as the school’s representative in various mathematics competitions and brought home the bacon most of the time. In 2005, she was awarded the ASEAN Scholarship and finished high school at the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus Secondary in Singapore. At present, 19-year old Jasmine is a pre-university student at St. Andrew’s Junior College (Singapore) where she consistently belongs to the upper percentile in her class.

Aside from their impressive achievements in academics and extracurricular activities, these five brilliant individuals all have one thing in common; they are all proud students of Kumon.

Nothing common about Kumon

According to its official website, "Kumon is an educational institution, widely associated with math and language instructions, present in 45 countries. Founded by Toru Kumon in Japan almost 50 years ago, it is currently a method used by 4.12 million students worldwide.”

“Kumon basically offers math and reading (enhancement programs). We focus on developing the potential of each child based on their individual abilities. More than improving academic abilities, we also want to equip the child with the necessary life and work skills to make them positive agents of change in the society,” reveals Elizabeth “Ely” Go, one of the franchisees of Kumon in Davao.

In June 1996, Ely and her sister Elmelita “Bing” Herrera, who took up Bachelor of Science major in Business Administration and Accountancy from the University of the Philippines, opened up their own Kumon centers in Davao. Following in their footsteps was sister-in-law Ma. Joy Go, a dental medicine graduate from the University of the East.

“Our set up is more of teamwork, my center is the GCL center in Quirino, Bing runs the Obrero center and Joy heads the Matina center,” shares Ely.

Ely says that, personally, she decided to get involved with Kumon because of her passion to help other children have an easier time with math.

“I had a difficult time with math in college at the University of the Philippines,” admits Ely who is also a dentist.

With the Kumon worksheets, students develop strong academic skills in math and reading. They are able to learn high school level mathematics smoothly and improve their reading comprehension with the least amount of time. Only the most essential type of problems is included in the worksheets, and these are placed in an order that will make learning easier and most effective for children.

Kumon worksheets are envisioned to build the essentials for an efficient student: “confidence that make them enjoy their studies, good study habits that enable them to gain good results in other subjects, concentration skills that make them do their homework effectively, and curiosity that extends their critical thinking.”

Ely stresses that “Kumon develops certain life skills such as discipline, perseverance, self-learning and independence. If you read the testimonials of our students, they have gone far not only in terms of their academic pursuits but also on how they are as human beings.”

“Hearing about the successes of our Kumon students is the most rewarding experience for me more than all the plaques and citations we have received from our head office in Manila,” discloses Ely.

Learning life skills through Kumon
When did you start Kumon?

Katrina: I started Kumon when I was in Grade 5. Back then, I didn’t dislike math, I despised it, and apparently, it despised me too. It was the subject that I had a lot of difficulty with. My math grades were always the lowest and they usually brought down my average.

Kimberly: I started Kumon when I was in my 2nd year high school.

Angelique: I think I started Kumon when I was six years old, around 1997.
Neil: I was in 3rd year high school.

Jasmine: I was one of the pioneer students. If I am not mistaken, I was eight years old then.

How did Kumon help develop life skills?

Katrina: I admit that I have brains but I’m not like those who ace tests without even opening a book. Kumon proved that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. I was the first Kumon Math completer in Mindanao not because I was their smartest student but because I was the most persevering one. I dedicated all of my effort and spare time to do my worksheets. Proper time management and discipline were all it took to balance school and Kumon.

Kimberly: In order to achieve success in life, there must be perseverance and determination. I was able to finish Kumon and get the Singapore scholarship because of the two. But behind the success is my God, family, teachers, and friends who have been there to strengthen and encourage me all the way.

Angelique: Kumon has helped me manage my time, instill discipline within myself and develop my perseverance. I learned to divide my work at a given amount of time, concentrate on what I am doing and always be determined; therefore, achieving the aimed goal. Kumon helped me develop patience. It taught me to always have dedication in my work and it developed my self-learning ability.

Neil: Kumon has not only enhanced my analytical thinking and reading comprehension but also boosted my confidence. It has improved my study habits and taught me to never quit. Moreover, because of Kumon, I learned to never limit myself from doing other things. Even if I had to do loads of Kumon worksheets, I didn’t see them as a hindrance for me to pursue my other interests such as arts and sports.

Jasmine: As I was faced with more challenging problems in the upper levels, I had to spend more time analyzing the question. But the promise of learning something new and beyond what I was dealing with in school inspired me to put more effort, and through this, I was more determined to overcome any challenges I had to deal with not only in Kumon but in other aspects as well. As Kumon believes in speed and accuracy, I really learned to live up to high quality standards despite time constraints I had to battle with.

How do you think Kumon will be useful in your future career?

Katrina: Being in Kumon has aided me in dealing with different kinds of people: teachers, students and even parents to name a few. This will certainly help me in my business career. Also, as I said earlier, Kumon has taught me good work ethics.

Kimberly: Setting aside academics, Kumon has enabled me to see the world in the social perspective. Kumon is not about the knowledge; it is about bringing out the best from each student and using that potential to help contribute to the world.

Angelique: I believe Kumon will be of much help to me in my future career because nowadays everything involves math.

Neil: Kumon will be useful for me to achieve more goals and to have a successful life.
Jasmine: Kumon will definitely assist me in ensuring that I put my best efforts in whatever endeavor I will be faced with and as well as ensure quality in every piece of work I will have to do.

In Davao, Kumon can be found in the following locations: Matina Center-2nd Floor, Lua Building (in front of Ateneo de Davao University-Grade School), Mac Arthur Highway, tel nos. 2993831 and 2732217; Obrero Center-2nd Floor, Centillion Bldg, 544 Lacson Street, Barrio Obrero, tel. nos. 3000078 and 2732217; and GCL Center-Room 301, GCL Bldg, 110 Elpidio Quirino Avenue, D.C., tel. nos. 2212058 and 2732217.

Fees per subject are P1,800 per month for elementary level and P1,950 for high school level.

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