A few of my friends have been asking about Shichida lessons because they intend to sign up for it, so I decided to put up this detailed breakdown of class activities for babies 6 months to 1 year old. Every lesson that I have attended thus far has stuck to this basic framework, thus I am able to reproduce it from memory!
The reason why I’m posting this is because I believe everyone should have the right to make an informed decision. The school doesn’t have trial lessons, neither do they allow people to observe lessons before signing up, so many parents may be signing up for a term of lessons, only to find out later that it is not to their liking..
(I apologise if this post is too text-heavy without any images. I’m not sure if any of the images are copyright so all I can do is provide external links to images of the items used during the activities)
Do note that this lesson plan is probably only applicable to younger students (babies), as I think they have more complex activities for older children.
- All lessons start with a 30 second Welcome song in Japanese. This song is unique and I can’t find it on Youtube or anywhere else on the web.
- Teacher announces the day, date and asks students to look out of the window to see if it is a sunny, cloudy or rainy day.
- Blowing / Breathing exercise: There is a hand-made toy with a string or ribbon attached (for example, a monkey with a sting for its tail, an elephant with a ribbon for its trunk), and the students are asked to give a short blow and a long blow to make the string or ribbon move. Blowing/Breathing is said to help the students relax for the class.
- Image training: They call this ‘image training’; to me it’s just pretend play. In this short (less than 5 minute) segment, the students pretend to do certain activities with the help of their parent. This activity is changed every lesson and can range from pretending to fly a kite to pretending to be a butterfly (please see my previous posts for more examples)
- Clairvoyance game: The teacher will hide a picture card behind one of two larger pictures, and ask the students to guess where that picture card is. (For example, there is a picture of a bee. Is it hiding behind the red flower or the blue flower?) (Note: I don’t find how this can be clairvoyance if the teacher knows where the card is..it’s probably teacher-and-student telepathy at best)
- Telepathy game: The execution of this activity is roughly the same as clairvoyance game, except now the parent hides the card instead of the teacher, and sends ‘mental signals’ to the child to tell the child where the card is.
- ‘Hand reading’ game: The parent gets two cards, one which is blank and the other with a picture. With both cards placed face down, the child is supposed to sense which card has the picture (some pictures ’emit’ certain sensations such as warmth or coldness).
- Sentences for daily life: A 1 minute video. Drawings of people doing their daily activities are flashed on the screen, with a concurrent voice-over description (For example, ‘I get on the escalator’, ‘I eat my breakfast’). The images that are flashed can be purchased from the local School (it’s called sentence structure) and from the Japanese Shichida website (if you reside in Japan). The same set of images are shown for 4 weeks in a row, with the voice-over removed on the last week (only the images are shown).
(Note: For more images and information, you may wish to visit these two blogs (they are in Japanese but they have put up pictures of the product –http://yun1211.blog59.fc2.com/blog-entry-1374.html, http://englishtimewithakr.blogspot.sg/2013/06/3.html)
- Flashcards on the TV screen: A series of about 30 pictures with a common theme (for example, animals) are flashed on the TV screen, with its name being read out at the same time. English is used for the first four lessons, followed by mandarin for the next four, and subsequently other languages (Italian, Spanish, Korean, etc) are used. The pictures flashed are exactly the same as the ones I purchased from the china website, so I believe this video can also be purchased from the Japanese Shichida school..
- Flashcards: about 20-25 sets of flashcards are then flashed to the children. The sets have about 10 cards each and are mainly hand drawn. Some of the cards are identical to the ones I purchased from the china website as well. The same cards are used for 4 weeks. On the final week there is one quiz question (for example, the teacher will ask the students to pick the card with 43 dots, from a choice of 2 cards)
- Eye training: Using a picture with a bell attached, the teacher makes the children look to the left, right, up and down in a fixed fashion. The way the teacher moves the item is similar to what is shown on this website (minus the star pattern).
- Photo memory: The children are shown a picture for 8-10 seconds, and then asked to pick out the correct picture from 2 choices.
- Photo memory part 2: The children are shown a picture with a sequence of objects. After 8-10 seconds they are each given the picture and asked to arrange the objects in the correct sequence.
- Linking memory: The children are told a ridiculous story that links 5 unrelated objects together. Following that, the children are given pictures of each item and asked to arrange the pictures in the order that they appeared in the story. Subsequently, the cards are all turned face down, and the kids asked to ‘sense’ and pick out 2 named objects. Here’s a good blog post about it.
- Speed reading: The children are each given a picture book (7 pages, each page with one short line of text) and we all proceed to read the book in time with a recording that is played in the background. We then re-read the book, at twice the speed. The same book is read for 4 weeks.
- Sawako: This is a short story about a little child called Sawako, that is told using flashcards. The first time the story is told in English. The second time the story is told in a foreign language (Korean, Italian, etc). This is a product from the Shichida website. The same story is repeated for 4 weeks, before a new story is used.
- Shichida musical: A song is sung by the teacher, supplemented by picture flashcards relevant to the song. These songs are unique to the Shichida class (I have never heard them anywhere else), and are repeated for 4 weeks before they are changed.
- Singing of the ABC alphabet song (They sing it in a strange way, that is again unique to the school) while pointing to the individual alphabets on a laminated A4 card.
- Phonics song (the same song every week, for 15 weeks, and counting..).
- One or two activities that involves shapes.
- One or two activities that involves numbers/counting.
- Watching a japanese video that teaches two addition/subtraction/multiplication/divison equations (This is again probably from the Japanese Shichida School)
- An activity that involves sorting out items according to the alphabet letter they start with.
- An activity that involves tracing outlines of letters with fingers.
- A short abacus activity where the teacher shows counting with the abacus.
- Recently, there is ‘homework’: The babies/toddlers (well, the parents actually) are supposed to complete a ‘picture dictionary’, two to three alphabets a week.
- Finger training: The children get a chance to practice fine motor activity, for example holding a crayon, or inserting a straw into a cup, etc.
I hope this post clears up the mystery surrounding the Shichida lesson plans for interested parents! I will be happy to address any further questions..