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.

Comments (6)
  1. Mehilangelino says:

    The days of NOT going overboard are over. Today nothing is “too young”.

    If kids aren’t doing well, its because parents, certain malicious teachers are telling them they cant and are “not ready”.

    Thus kids mimic that thought and internalize they cant do it. Their confidence destroyed, very fragile, kids.

    Childhood SHOULD include MATH!

  2. Frank Keller says:

    I was a bit taken-aback by this story on the 11p news last night. At a time when California is a the bottom of the ladder educationally, when the US as a whole is not a leader in academics among the world I found it difficult to swallow a story that chides parents for having their children beginning to learn the three R’s at 2 years old.

    This country has become spoiled and weak and the US will never remain at the top of the world leader with stories and attitudes such as these. Students in china attend school six days a week, why becasue they know to exceed you must be educated. European students not only are ahead of US students in math and science but are required to take two languages as part of their curriculum, English being required as one. In the US many graduating students can not construct a proper sentence. I applaud the parents who have enrolled their children in this program. It’s time the US took back its place as a world leader not only economically, but educationally as well.

  3. vanessa says:

    These parents must be KOREAN! Porter Ranch like FUllerton/Sunny Hills seems to cultivate fear amongst the families that if their children don’t go to school and the ESL programs (public and private) that their children will fail. They instill fear into their children and later in life, their kids are afraid of failure, afraid of finding their own path, afraid of life and adventure and play.

    1. smart parent says:

      It is not cultivating fear, but rather a logical reaction to the failed education system in the states. And, for your info., not only “Korean” parents are doing it, check out parents in New York City and the east coast in general. Parents sign up for academic driven pre-schools as soon as they find out they are pregnant.

    2. smart parents says:

      Try not to be a hater. If the Koreans are rocking the GPA, then good for them and even better for sociey.

      BTW, only one family pictured in the video are Korean. The rest simply understand that its too much to burden the already struggling public school system and its time that parents’ take action.

    3. mehi-angelino says:

      Have you been in and around Koreatown? In the middle surrounded mostly by god awful chusmeria, Koreatown is fantastic. Modern, their economy hardly touched, clean neighborhoods, super smart kids and 20 somethings and adults with stern ways but focused. Mostly. They rock. I welcome them and Indians rather than the chusma that have invaded this city in the last 20-30.

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