Children need just the right amount of guidance to develop the skill sets that will ensure their success PARENTS ARE AN integral part of their children's learning process and efforts should be made to develop children's abilities at home, according to Kumon Hong Kong managing director Kinichiro Yoshida. Mr Yoshida, who has more than 20 years of educational experience, said most parents in the Asia-Pacific region believed that school was the only place for children to receive education. 'Both school and home share the responsibility of giving knowledge and developing children's skills. Home education is becoming more important,' he said. 'At school, students are being taught by teachers in a traditional classroom learning style. Teachers do not have the time or resources to educate children completely according to their individual needs or abilities. 'Therefore, parents need to take up the role to develop motivation and aspiration in children.' Parents of children who are able to study or do things independently share some common traits. They can usually recognise the activities their children take an interest in and gently push them to do these activities, according to Kumon research. Parents will continue to observe, guide and support their children in whatever they do. 'One important point is that parents should believe in their child's ability and never compare their child with other children as every child's ability is different,' Mr Yoshida said. He said when a child started a task or activity it was important that parents did not help by giving instructions or taking over the task. Parents should just observe the children, praise their efforts and encourage them as much as possible. Eventually, if parents followed this cycle, the children would to do things on their own without prompting from parents, Mr Yoshida said. And the biggest joy that parents can derive is to see their child taking a positive stance in any task or activity. However, children were like adults and could sometimes be disturbed by bad emotions that could affect their learning performance. In this respect, Mr Yoshida said, parents needed to be patient to help their children overcome emotional problems. 'The key is to never let the child give up his or her daily study. This rule applies not only to study, but to all kinds of learning such as sports, painting or music. Once the child overcomes the barrier, he or she will learn how to display higher levels of persistence in the learning process.' He suggested that parents do some reading with the child to build a good learning environment at home. Mr Yoshida said individualised learning was the most effective way to develop 'superior basic academic abilities'. Individualised learning means children are capable of studying on their own and do not need to be instructed in a one-sided manner. 'Unlike the passive method of studying in a group setting, individualised learning allows each child to study materials appropriate to his or her level of ability, regardless of age and school grade. 'Each child will learn to set their own goals and progress at their own pace, ultimately experiencing a sense of accomplishment when the goal is achieved,' he said. 'Having achieved that goal, he or she will then set another goal for the next level, and so begins a new cycle for a new challenge.'