Is Your Toddler Too Young For Math Bootcamp?

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PORTER RANCH (CBS) — Just how young is too young for a child to begin a hardcore academic regimen?

Many parents now start children as young as three years old on intense biweekly math and reading drills.

Kumon, which bills itself as the nation’s largest tutoring chain, has introduced Junior Kumon for children ages 2-5. They boast of young pupils doing 3-digit multiplication at 5 years old, and long division by the third grade.

In the past year, Junior Kumon’s enrollment has jumped by thirty percent nationwide. Some suggest these numbers are a response to parental anxiety, and competition to get kids into the best schools as early as kindergarten.

Still one professional fears programs like these are too much too soon.

“A 3-year-old is too young for any structured, academic, expectation performance and school,” says Dr. Fran Walfish, a family and child therapist in Beverly Hills. “If a child is truly not ready, you can bump up against resistance and create a block where the child doesn’t want to learn later.”

Kumon Instructor Nancy Milkovich says there’s no stress, no pressure, and children are encouraged to go at their own pace.

“We want it to be a fun, encouraging, welcoming environment for them,” says Milkovich. “And if they’re struggling, they’re not ready.”

Parents eager to keep their child ahead of the curve shell out around $125 per subject, per month for the Junior Kumon program. Tutoring competitor Sylvan Learning Center has also introduced a pre-kindergarten program, and charges up to $199 per month.

To learn more, visit Junior Kumon online.

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