Kumon helps to keep your brain working at any age

Dec 2019

Etresia has been described as someone who motivates, and if you spend time with her, you do come away feeling inspired. Currently the oldest student not only at the Constantia Kloof Study Centre, but also in Kumon Africa, and quite possibly one of the oldest in the Kumon world, Etresia turned 80 years old in April 2019.

Etresia is thoroughly enjoying Kumon. When she started the programme in January 2016, she was working on multiplication of 2 digits x 2 digits; she is now working on factorisation, and will then move onto square roots. Doing the worksheets takes a bit longer than it did in the beginning, but Etresia is determined to carry on for as long as she can, even up to completing the programme if she is able to. She would also like to possibly do the English Programme in future.

When Etresia matriculated, she did not do so with mathematics. The priority at that time was to equip herself with typing, shorthand and bookkeeping. Etresia worked as a typist for a few years, but then decided that she wanted to study further. She studied Social Work and achieved her diploma. Later, Etresia desired a degree in her field, and did her honours. Clearly a life-long learner at heart, she went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Theology and was ordained as a Pastor in 2004. She then earned her Doctorate in Theology at the age of 75, and still remains very involved in her church as an Associate Pastor.

Her decision to enrol in the Kumon Programme was inspired when her grandson, who was doing his Kumon worksheets at home, asked for help with his fractions. Etresia assisted him, but did so incorrectly, so that when his parents got home, he had completed the whole worksheet with incorrect answers. Being a person who sees inability or lack of knowledge as an opportunity and a challenge to discover what more she can learn, Etresia spoke to Bianca Evans, Instructor at the Constantia Kloof Study Centre and also her daughter-in-law, and enrolled onto the programme.

Inspired by other people who are accomplishing great things, Etresia believes that we all need to be thankful for the individual abilities that we do have, and to make use of them. Estresia advises that as you get older, it is important for people to do as much as you can for your intellectual growth as well.  You need to do things for yourself; not just the normal day-to-day activities, but meaningful activities that will stimulate your mind. In addition to the Kumon Maths Programme, Etresia plans to start with Zulu lessons in January 2020. She carries this philosophy into other areas of her life as well, as she also keeps herself physically fit by going to the gym regularly.

What motivates Etresia? She feels it is important to do all that she practically can, as she gets older, to keep her mind and her brain stimulated. She truly believes in the wonderful ability of the brain, and enjoys reading Caroline Leaf’s books on the subject. Etresia has experience with what dementia and/or Alzheimer’s can do to a person, both professionally and witnessing the struggles of friends around her. She is very grateful to the Kumon Programme which provides her with the opportunity to stimulate her mind.

Another aspect that motivates Etresia to keep on going is Bianca’s firm but patient manner and her willingness to take the time needed to facilitate her study through the programme. Etresia believes that every Kumon student has the responsibility do their part for their Kumon studies, as the Instructor is working diligently to do their part.

Etresia is living proof that we can be lifelong learners, and that the Kumon Programme does cater for all ages and abilities. We look forward to hearing more about Etresia’s progress through the Kumon Programme, and her journey to keep herself younger and fit in every way.