Cover photo: Owners Jinmi Jung and husband Josh McNicholl in front of the Achievement wall where the students measure their success. Photo by Kristina McDonough Hunt
Kumon Math and Reading Center of Leawood sets skills for life
By Christina McDonough Hunt
Kids and teenagers in the south Kansas City and Leawood area are boosting their skills in math and reading through the new Kumon Center in Leawood. Last year, the newly opened center at 3626 W. 135th St. become the fastest growing Kumon location in the nation.
Kumon is an after-school math and reading program for children in preschool through grade 12. It offers a comprehensive learning experience for children, based on their current level, to learn to master their skills. For many children, the program has been life altering by boosting their confidence and helping them learn life skills such as perseverance.
Jinmi Jung, owner of Kumon Math and Reading Center of Leawood, says the program helps children even beyond their educational skills. “This program requires the students to do a worksheet every day, even on the weekends or over breaks like Christmas. The value in that is they learn the habit of consistency and how consistency can help them to master something. It also helps them learn to manage their time. This is especially helpful in sports or even music.”
Kumon student Florence Baek, 11, agrees that the program gives students more than good grades. “When I first started, I really struggled in math and some in the reading,” she recalls. “I hated correcting the ones I got wrong because it was hard, and I would get angry when I scored bad grades.” She says the program has helped her develop better grades in school with all of her subjects. “And it has helped me to be more confident,” she reports.
Students master math by being given a short, step-by-step worksheet with an example of a math problem at the top. As students work through the worksheet, they refer back to the example to teach themselves how to do the problems. This repetitive action allows the students to master each level of math. They master the reading program by reading a specific number of books at a certain level. As each level is achieved, the students earn points and can choose prizes based on the number of points.
“I’m saving my points for something special,” said Baek. “I haven’t decided what that will be yet, but it’s fun that we get to choose prizes.”
Jung, who is a math teacher, taught in South Korea for years and also in the United States. She says she has a passion for helping kids. In the summer of 2019 she opened Kumon Leawood with the aid of her husband, Josh McNicholl. Jung believes the Kumon program teaches skills that will “change your child’s whole life.”
“When I was young, my dad gave me a diary. I wrote in that diary all through my childhood. I won writing competitions and I learned that if you want to master something you have to do it long-term. And that is what Kumon teaches.”
Jung recommends a minimum six month commitment to the program, saying it is “very important”, but there are no contracts.
Kumon also helps children and adults with disabilities such as autism and dyslexia.
Kumon offers a free parent orientation and placement test, by appointment only. For more information, call 913-214-2111.
“I am happy to introduce our program to the area,” Jung commented. “I really want to help the kids.”