I think maybe after a while these entries about the Shichida lessons are gonna get repetitive and boring so I’m just gonna describe some of the more worthwhile activities every week, so that parent readers of my blog can get some ideas for their home activities.
- Pretend play of toasting two pieces of laminated bread picture in a box designed as a toaster.. Then putting a piece of felt cheese on the bread to make a sandwich..before pretending to eat the sandwich. As I feared from the beginning of the activity, the pretend sandwich really did end up in Samantha’s mouth and I had to pry it out (she now has two upper and two lower incisors so she can give a pretty mean grip with her teeth).
- A large A3 sheet of paper with an apple and 10 worms sticking out from it – count the worms
- Matching pictures of animals with their names – lion, giraffe, elephant, zebra.
- Matching two of the same category of items, for example two types of clocks, two types of flowers, two types of chairs, two types of telephones.
As a side note, I tried to purchase some Shichida teaching material from the Shichida Japan website but I received this email reply:
Thank you for your inquiry.
We are sorry but we do not sell any our educational materials to general customers who is living out side of Japan. We apologize that we could not meet your expectation.
Shichida Educational Institute
I thought I saw some mass order on a local forum ordering their stuff a while back. Never mind..Looks like I will have to get my materials from the local one. They have this ‘store’ at their centre at Toa Payoh, but their materials are quite tightly guarded – you can’t buy it unless your kid is with their program. I don’t really like the idea of that, interested parents should be given the option of reading up on the Shichida method and implementing it by themselves at home.
In today’s lesson there was a change of the ‘regular’ items: they showed a new set of flashcards, the animals flashcards on TV are now read in mandarin instead of English, they had a new set of ‘sentences for daily life’, a new ‘Shichida musical’ song and a new book for speed reading! So they change these materials every 4 weeks! I was wondering when it was gonna happen.
We also had pretend play of making formula milk to drink..Samantha has never taken any formula milk up to this point so it’s a new experience for her.
We also had a matching game where we were supposed to match two of the same objects, putting two half-shapes together to form a new shape, and putting the names of the insects to their images (all rather advanced for a 8 month old, in my opinion).. I looked at the other parents sometimes and I see them doing the activities for the babies too..
I think the babies were quieter today! Maybe it’s because there were new flashcards to see? I know for a fact that whenever I show Samantha a new set of homemade flashcards, she tends to be more attentive..
My Shichida books that I ordered from Japan came in today and I was very excited to receive them!
It was very well wrapped (with bubble wrap and all) and both books were in mint condition –
I began reading the books..they were very easy to read, I finished them both in one sitting, taking about 2 hours in total. The books were easy to read because the font was comfortably large, both books repeated the same information, and it was heavily peppered with his (Prof Makoto Shichida’s) own anecdotal cases of children who benefited from his method of teaching, so after a while I felt like I was reading a storybook rather than the principles of an educational method.
The books contain his theory of ‘Right brain education’, much of which is unfortunately not firmly supported by scientific research. There are not many practical aspects of his theory in these two books (in particular, how his theory can be implemented, which I had hoped to read more about), so I was fairly disappointed.
Overall, I would say that these two books seem more like advertisements for his theory, with so many individual cases studies of success stories. You can read it if you want to be convinced that this method of teaching works (you’ll have to turn a blind eye to all the potential confirmation bias here), but if you have already been reading up about the Shichida method online, or if you have already attended the Parent Education Conference, you probably already know everything that is in the book, and you can probably put that S$70 to much better use.
Today we attended our fourth Shichida lesson.
There were the usual staples – Sentences for daily life, Animal flashcards on TV, Flashcards (this is the fourth time we are seeing the same set), Sawako, Book reading and ABC song were all repeated from the week before, with some other new activities. There was actually a ‘test’ at the end of the flashcard session, when the teacher asked the babies to choose the picture with the correct number of dots – most babies got it right, again to my surprise.
The pretend play for today was pretending to paint a portrait of Mona Lisa, which I think the babies in the class had no idea what was going on…
I haven’t commented on the teaching materials before, so I thought that I should leave a short note here about them – they are mostly hand-made, some more elaborate than others. Last week we had this 3-dimensional ‘jukebox’ which was hand-decorated and had an area where you could velcro on the selected ‘CD’ (a laminated hand-drawn picture of a CD) and also a coin slot where you could insert laminated pictures of coins inside. There are also a multitude of 2-dimensional, A3-sized, laminated pieces of paper bearing pictures meant for various number or word matching activities. I think I may just try my hand on making some of these materials for my own use at home..
So I decided to make flashcards.
I tried to look for paper to make the flashcards on, but Popular bookstore doesn’t sell A5-sized cards. Neither does Art Friend, nor Spotlight. I thought of buying A4 sized cards then cutting them down to size, but it would end up too costly..So I went online to read the forums and found out that people wither buy their cards in bulk from this paper company called Hiap Moh, or buy it directly from the Shichida store (at their Toa Payoh office). Now isn’t that troublesome!
In the end I just decided to go for some generic cardstock from popular that is smaller (8 inches by 5 inches)..Cost $1.95 for 50 cards, before the member’s discount. I figured I just have to sit closer to my baby and it will seem like I’m using an A5 card..
Ok, now on to making the flashcards proper! I’m terrible at art so I decided to scour the internet for suitable pictures, copy and paste them onto Microsoft Powerpoint files, then print them out into colour, 2 slides per page. Now, choosing pictures can be quite tricky. You want a picture that is quite representative of the object/animal you are depicting, has minimal background disturbances, no watermark (you need to pay for the non-watermarked version! grr…), and also appropriately-sized (so that it doesn’t become too pixelated when you print it out). It took me 2 hours to do my first set of 10 ‘farm animals’! Ok, I got lazy and decided to just hand-write the cover page..and then cut off the corners of the card for easy sorting. Here’s my finished product!
There’s this really good blog post by a Malaysian mummy that discusses how to make flashcards in more detail..
I apologise that I am unable to put up my flashcards for download on my blog because many of the pictures are probably copyrighted, and I don’t fancy going to jail..