Neither too hard nor easy, Kumon’s ‘just-right’ level of learning

A core approach of the Kumon Method of Learning, is to provide each student with work that is at the ‘just-right’ level, the point between work that is too easy and too hard. This allows each student to stay motivated and make strong progress in their learning.

Kumon’s approach of the ‘just-right’ level of learning can be described by The Goldilocks Effect. The Goldilocks Effect is an analogy to the character of Goldilocks and her preference for porridge that is neither too hot nor cold, but is the ‘just right’ temperature for her. It is used in a wide range of disciplines, including developmental psychology, biology, astronomy, economics and engineering. [1]

For example, in their book The Grand Design, theoretical physicists Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow used the Goldilocks Effect to explain the ideal distance for a planet to be positioned from a star to sustain life. [2]  In child development, it can refer to providing children with material that is neither too easy nor hard to maximise learning. [3]

Kumon Instructors, who create and update individualised study projections for each student, maintain the ‘just-right’ level for each student. Through their monitoring and observations of each student’s progress, they assign the worksheets that students are ready to learn next. Instructors also regularly communicate progress with students and their parents.

These actions help create the specific conditions students need to continue making strong progress.

“As long as we discover the potential of each student and ensure they study at the ‘just-right’ level, then each child will progress at a rate that will surprise not only their parents … but also themselves,” said Toru Kumon, the founder of the Kumon Method.

Should you wish to learn more about Kumon and the ‘just-right’ level, please contact your nearest Kumon centre:


[1] Colman, A. M. (2008). A Dictionary of Psychology (3 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[2] Stephen Hawking, L. M. (2010). The Grand Design. Random House USA Inc.
[3] Pintrich, P. R. (2006). Understanding Self-Regulated Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 3 – 12.

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