With classes set to resume this month, parents are once again focused on their children’s academic success. Now, parents in the Nocatee area have a new partner to help students reach their goals.
Longtime educator and Nocatee resident Tamara Macfarlane has opened Kumon Math and Reading Center at 480 Town Plaza Ave., suite 140. The program, which is supplemental to students’ regular schoolwork, addresses the needs of each child individually. Whether they are ahead or behind the curve, they benefit from participation.
“With Kumon, we really work to develop self-learning skills and independence for the kids, which is crucial nowadays for setting them up for life,” said Macfarlane.
In addition to working on the academics, the program addresses work skills, approaches to learning and overall learning attitudes.
One secret to the program’s effectiveness is perhaps its placement tests, which help identify the exact point where a student’s difficulty originates.
“We go all the way back to that first skill that they are having trouble with, and we fill that gap, and we slowly build upon that,” Macfarlane said.
These assessments allow Macfarlane to find the most comfortable starting point for each student. Ultimately, students gain confidence in the face of challenges and learn to embrace them.
Macfarlane knows what she’s talking about. Both her undergraduate and graduate degrees are in education, and she taught school for more than 15 years. She was also an instructional coach, helping other teachers to be more effective.
In addition, she underwent a series of training sessions with the Kumon educational network before opening her franchise.
“The more I learned about the program, the more I fell in love with it,” she said.
She began conducting placement tests on July 17, and the first day of class was Monday, Aug. 3. She accepts students as young as three years old all the way through grade 12.
Students come to the center two days per week and do additional learning at home the other five days. For that reason, Macfarlane works closely with parents.
Kumon is a 365-day-a-year program, though it is individualized for the family. Even if they go on vacation, they can take the program along. This allows for the kind of repetition that helps to make what students learn a part of them.
To keep students safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Macfarlane checks temperatures and constantly sanitizes surfaces. Social distancing is practiced, and desks have plexiglass shields between them.
Macfarlane said she opened the franchise because she saw that it was something the area needed.
“I’m honored to do this for the community,” she said.