After reading up on strabismus in infants, I’ve been giving some more thought to all those early childhood education programs for babies. Many of the programs list birth as the recommended age for commencing the program, however, since babies can’t see very well at birth, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of flashing cards at them?
My recent research on these programs have revealed a different story…
The special classes, like Henguru, only offer classes to children aged six months and above. Although they run a prenatal class for mothers, they don’t actually have classes available to infants between zero to six months. When speaking to the people from Glenn Doman (yes, I eventually decided to buy their products, but more about this in another post), they said you don’t actually start with the kits until your baby is about three months or so when his eyes are more focused. In the initial few months they have special cards that are specifically for visual stimulation. During the first three months, the program aims to stimulate your baby’s vision with these cards to help your baby learn to focus.
A couple of other things I learned from speaking to the sales representatives for Glenn Doman products earlier today was that although their products are indicated for children age 0-6 years, they told me that 3 years old is too late to begin the Math program (Gavin just turned 3). The reason for this wasn’t particularly clear but I think it has something to do with the fact that children at this age will no longer be interested in the dot cards. Additionally, Gavin can recognise numerals which detracts from his ability to pick up the dot cards the way infants can. Nevertheless, I thought I would still try anyway and see how we go – watch this space.
The recommendation, when starting with older children, is to work with new words from the reading kit and to introduce the “Bits of Intelligence” cards.
I was also curious to understand the difference between Glenn Doman and the Shichida/Henguru methods. According to the sales representatives from Glenn Doman, the difference is that the Shichida/Henguru methods focus more on memory and recall. They also related to me that there have been some parents who have been taking their child to Shichida for four years only to discover that their child was still unable to read. This is part of the reason why I felt it was necessary to do more with Gavin during the week in between the Henguru classes. A one hour class once a week just doesn’t feel sufficient.
I also think that the difference in the manner that each program is conducted might also have some bearing on what the children pick up. Children are individuals with differing temperaments, personalities and learning styles. What works for one child may not necessarily work for another. Since I don’t really know what would work best for Gavin and Gareth, the aim is to expose them to as much as possible and hope that something sticks.