What Age is Best for a Child to Start Learning Abacus?

“What age is best for a child to start learning abacus?”
That is one of the most popular question from parents who wish to have their children learn Abacus. There is no rule that “you must be that age” in order to learn. The only difference is how the results are achieved depending on what age will the child start and here are some explanations:

Early Childhood is Best, If You Value Brain Development


If you want to extend the use of right brain who controls inspiration and images, it is very effective to start learning Abacus in early childhood where the right brain’s function is still active.

However, learning Abacus is a semi-abstract teaching concept such as numbers, it takes a while for a 3 years old to understand but through hard work and constant training they will be able to learn it.
So statistically, the child who started from pre-school is more likely to show their potential when solving mental arithmetic of six digits or more.

Elementary School is Most Efficient, If you Value Calculation Skills


The reason why junior high school students cannot do good in Mathematics is that there are many cases that the “Four arithmetic calculations” were not done enough. There are also many children who advance without learning The multiplication table sufficiently.

If you firmly acquire “Four arithmetic calculations” that form the basis of all academic achievement and lay the foundation of the number, it will be efficient to start learning from elementary school students. If you compare it only with learning speed, basic skills should be learnt at an earlier age in elementary school.

When Students Actually Start Learning Abacus  in IPPO/ISHIDO-SHIKI?


In IPPO/ISHIDO, most of the students start to learn abacus at 6 years old. It may be a reasonable age to acquire the concept of numbers efficiently while developing their capacity to analyse the problem. At age 6, their right side of brain is still active and they can develop imagery through their imagination where they can use it in solving mental arithmetic. Through long process, they will be able to understand and appreciate numbers especially the “Four arithmetic operations”.

Four Arithmetic Operations


Four arithmetic operations are the foundation of mathematics. The fundamental operations in mathematics are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

The learning depends on how you understand the operations and how to use it. It will be more efficient at the beginning of learning from elementary. These four are very important on doing Abacus. It doesn’t require age as long as you know the concept of these numbers and you will be confident in solving problems.


The best time in learning will depend on the purpose of “what you want to acquire through Abacus”.

  • Early childhood is best, if you value brain development.
  • Elementary school is most efficient, if you value calculation skills.

And the best time for learning Abacus is when you’re interested in learning it.

Above 3 years old, you can start learning Abacus and it depends on how you understand and use your knowledge in doing Abacus.

Reference: いしど式まとめ from ISHIDO-SHIKI JAPAN
Translate by: IPPO Japanese Math School

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Mei Ukai

Abacus Teacher / Co-Founder at IPPO Japanese Math Inc.
Hi this is teacher Mei! Do you like Math? If no,, Let's study Math with me in IPPO!
About Mei Ukai 15 Articles
Hi this is teacher Mei! Do you like Math? If no,, Let's study Math with me in IPPO!