Shichida in the Media

Page 1 of 212

Centre teaches love of learning

This article was originally featured in Parramatta Advertiser
By Stacy Thomas
Photo: David Swift
Shichida’s unique approach to early childhood education using playful exercises like memory boxes, alphabet charts, songs and games.

Method in a class of its own

ENROLMENTS at Shichida Early Learning Centre, which has centres across Australia, have doubled in the past two years.

The Parramatta CBD centre opened in 2016 and is already at capacity with 180 children and a long waiting list.

Shichida, a Japanese early learning method, teaches numeracy and literacy to children as young as six months.

Founder Shiaoling Lim said parents wanted to do more than just read to their child.

“They want to know how to teach them to learn — like the phrase ‘don’t feed them fish, teach your child to fish’,” she said.

“Early learning and stimulation should start from six months of age.

“Studies show brain development for a child is at its most crucial stage up until six years, with 80 per cent of the brain developed by the age of three.”

The unique approach to early childhood education uses a whole brain development method, which combines findings of brain research with education — using playful exercises like memory boxes, alphabet charts, songs and games.

Ms Lim described the Shichida classes, which children attend with a parent for one hour a week, as “like a personal trainer” which taught parents skills and exercises to continue at home.

“It’s not about creating genii, it’s about getting children to love learning. If they do, they will do well in school and into the future.”

Sunrise

Shichida Australia featured on Sunrise

Al Jazeera

Shichida Australia featured on Al Jazeera

The gorgeous moment a dad realised his two-year-old could read.

This article was originally featured in Mamamia
By Emily Krecinski
Shichida Mum, Emily Krecinksi recalls the moment her husband discovered their daughter, Chloe’s ability to read

 

The first time we realised that Chloe knew her numbers and letters was when my husband was out washing the car.

He could hear her mumbling away and went to check up on her. She was just two at the time, and was reading our car’s licence plate! My husband actually took his phone out to get it on video, so he could send it to me.

We knew she could point to the letters of the alphabet, and knew a few numbers, but this came as a surprise.

She always appeared to be able to pick up new concepts easily and has been reading since she turned three. Now she’s four and a half, and just started school last month. Some of her favourite books are Cat in the Hat, Possum Magic, Slinky Malinki and The Fly Went By.

Watch the moment Chloe read for the first time below. Post continues after audio.

She also loves addition and subtraction, a few days ago she showed us she knows multiplication – all of a sudden, she said three 10s is 30. I hadn’t gone over that with her. She often throws things like that at us, we really have to keep up with her.

About a year ago she started looking at the GPS on the dashboard when we were out driving around. She and would read the street signs and speed limits out to us – she’d even tell me if I should speed up or slow down. She was a little backseat driver.

This has now developed, and the signs she reads have gotten more and more complicated. Now as we’re whizzing around, she’s saying keep left here, or go straight there.

Children’s author Morris Gleitzman shares his best tips for getting any kid to love reading. Post continues after. 

Chloe seems to have developed memory and knowledge of numbers, which we worked on from an early age, and this has opened up a lot of other avenues for her.

She has been attending an early learning centre, called Shichida Australia, since she was 18 months old. I first heard about it on TV and thought it looked like an interesting program – mainly because it worked on skills like visualisation techniques, fine motor skills, confidence building and fun aspects of learning that didn’t seem to be offered in any other activities.

“Ultimately, we hope that Chloe will develop a love of learning and that it will be easy for her later on.” Image: Supplied.

I think this has all really stimulated her learning, improved her concentration and helped her prepare for the transition to school. Shichida also gave us the tools to be able to incorporate opportunities for learning into everyday life – this has been incredibly helpful.

At home, we do a lot of reading and take the time to explain things to Chloe. A lot of the time she takes the initiative and we go along with her – we help provide her with the tools to answer what she’s looking for.

When we’re cooking in the kitchen and measuring things out, we might explain things like half or a quarter. We will be talking to her and explaining it. Kids are so curious, they want to know everything. They love to learn if we give them the opportunity.

The main thing for us was that Chloe would have a smooth transition into school and not find it scary or daunting. We’re still in really early days, but so far, her transition has been really easy.

For now, I’ve pulled back on a lot of her extracurricular activities. These days she seems to fall asleep in the car on the way home from school as it’s all so new. We might pick up gymnastics and swimming again once she settles in more – the only thing we kept up is Shichida.

Reading helps Chloe in so many ways – she can engage in real-life scenarios such as recognising road rules, having an understanding of dangerous hazards and how these may impact her. Being able to read signs helps make life a little less daunting. Whether we’re at school or out shopping, she has the ability to relate to where she is.

Ultimately, we hope that Chloe will develop a love of learning and that it will be easy for her later on.

Increasing number of children starting school able to read

This article was originally featured in Nine Honey
By Jo Abi
Featuring Shichida families, Jane Harris and her daughters Mischa and Tora, and Vicki McQueen and her daughter Zoe. 

 

I have a funny feeling I was the only parent who didn’t realise my children should have started reading and multiplying before they began Kindergarten.

Or was I?

Apparently there is a new wave of children who hit the ground running when starting school. Their parents made a point to ensure they do everything they can to advance their children’s education.

Some enrolled them in programs at six months of age.

I wish I’d know about programs like the ones they used.

Silly me thought it was up to me to teach my kids to read and add, and then after my fledgling efforts, hand them over to the capable hands of trained educators to get the job done properly.

One such program some parents are using is called Schichida Australia and I spoke to a couple of mums whose children completed the program.

Vicki McQueen, 33, who lives in Mosman in Sydney, enrolled her children in the program so starting school wouldn’t be such a shock to the system.

“Zoe, five, has been reading since two-and-a-half,” she told 9Honey. “Axel, three, isn’t at reading level yet.”

McQueen said when she started reading books to Zoe, she noticed her daughter would read the sentences along with her.

Jane Harris with her daughters Tora (right) and Mischa (left). Image: Provided

“Zoe was very interested in books and I found when I would be reading a sentence she would read along with me. She just naturally picked it up.

“We were doing a program and they would be reading a book and if she saw a word that she hadn’t seen before, for example the word ‘cool’, when it got to page 11 of that book she would recall that word once you had explained it to her.”

The five-year-old started Kindergarten this year already knowing how to read and do basic maths.

“We had a meeting before she started school when she was four and she picked up a book and was able to read it. The interviewer said she’d only seen one other girl come into Kindy knowing how to read.”

Jane Harris has two daughters who were both able to read by age four.

Harris, 38, said the program helped Tora, seven, and Mischa, five learn to read, as did sharing story time with them each night.

In this episode of Honey Mums, Mel and Kel talk about trying to have fun as a mum, babysitters behaving badly and they also catch up with Nine’s Shelley Craft to discuss her parenting style: 

“In speaking with my kid’s teachers when they started school, certainly when Tora started, there were very limited expectations for reading and writing,” Harris told 9Honey.

“It seems more and more kids around school seem to be able to read basic texts.”

Although some parents are keen for their kids to learn to read before beginning school, Harris said at her children’s school, there’s no pressure or expectation.

“My daughter’s school, they allow them to read at the level that they’re at. Depending where they are, regardless of where they are so if they’ve never read or are a more advanced reader, I’ve found the school that we’re at has catered to that.”

The Sydney ‘brain training’ centre creating child geniuses

This article was originally featured in News.com.au
By Megan Palin
Photo: News.com.au
Shichida Australia: Five year old girl with photographic memory

 

A FIVE-year-old Sydney girl with an incredible memory can recall things most children have long forgotten. That’s not the only use of her brain – so she was put to the test.

FOR most five-year-olds, the mere mention of “pi” will likely evoke questions as to whether it comes with ice cream or tomato sauce.

But Lejla Sinanovic is no ordinary five-year-old.

She hasn’t even started primary school, yet can recite pi on cue to more than 100 decimal places. Lejla allegedly mastered the art in less than 10 weeks.

It’s one of several sequences of numbers Lejla rattles off for news.com.au as proof of her “extreme photographic memory” at the Shichida Early Learning Centre in Sydney on Monday.

She can also recall the names of streets she passed on car trips weeks earlier and details of hotel rooms she stayed in three years ago, when she was just two years old, according to her mother Zineta Sinanovic. She says Lejla could spell her “first and last names” out loud at just 15 months old.

“We started from baby books and sometimes we got to a point where we thought she’d actually learned to read but she had actually just memorised what we’d read to her and could read it back,” Ms Sinanovic says.

“She has an amazing little brain (and) a ridiculous memory that she astounds us with in different ways.”
Lejla, who will start kindergarten next year, “remembers pretty far back”, according to her mother. At just five, her yardstick isn’t long, but she recalls certain things “you wouldn’t think a kid at that age would remember” according to her mum.

But it hasn’t come entirely naturally. Lejla has been attending Shichida classes — a Japanese “brain training program” — for 50 minutes once a week since she was six months old. Back then, her teachers would wave puppets in front of her to “strengthen her eye muscles”. It’s a memory technique still used on babies, who make up some of the organisation’s 440 students Australia-wide, says manager and teacher Hanako Ward.

“It keeps their minds active and stimulated,” Ms Ward says.

As the children grow and their minds expand, more complex techniques are used to develop their memories. Some of the activities include flash cards, alphabet charts, speed reading and listening, songs, games and peg words. According to Ms Ward, Lejla now has an “extreme photographic memory”.

Lejla Sinanovic, 5, has a photographic memory

Lejla Sinanovic, 5, has a photographic memorySource:news.com.au

Shichida Chatswood centre manager and teacher Hanako Ward uses flash cards in the ‘brain training program’

Shichida Chatswood centre manager and teacher Hanako Ward uses flash cards in the ‘brain training program’Source:news.com.au

WHAT IS PI?

Pi is a name given to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter.

That means, the circumference of any circle can be divided by the diameter and return the exact same number. It doesn’t matter how big or small the circle is, pi remains the same.

The pi recital technique is taught by giving each digit from 0 to 200 an associated image — one a pig, two a tree, three a shoe. Lejla converts pi’s digits into the images and remembers the order by telling herself a story — a three and a two might be a shoe in a tree.

But how does her memory fare when put to the test on topics she hasn’t been prepped for by teachers?

Lejla is asked what she wants for Christmas.

“A Santa toy,” she replies.

What did she get last year?

“A Santa … it’s a beanie Santa,” she says.

Her mother interjects and says the family “doesn’t celebrate Christmas so that might be a tough one”. Lejla recalls that she received “a toy tiger” for her October birthday this year but stares blankly when asked about what she got the year prior. She’s also doesn’t appear to recall any gifts her parents may have received in recent or past times.

Her teacher sets up activities so Lejla can demonstrate her skills in ways she’s more familiar with. She shows the little girl a page with various words on it then hides it and hands her a blank sheet to replicate what she saw. Lejla focuses and completes the task twice but gets them wrong on both occasions.

“I think people put a negative connotation of teaching kids at a young age because they think it’s all about forcing them into a situation where they’re having to learn,” Ms Sinanovic says.

“But that’s totally not what it is … she gets confidence and excitement from going. It’s all I can ask for.”

Lejla Sinanovic, 5, attempts to replicate what she saw on a flash card moments earlier

Lejla Sinanovic, 5, attempts to replicate what she saw on a flash card moments earlierSource:news.com.au

The unique approach to early childhood education uses a whole brain development method, which combines findings of brain research with education. The program is open to children from six months to nine years old.

According to Ms Ward, Shichida is growing in popularity in Australia. She says the organisation has gained an average of 100 new students each year since opening in 2013. It has three centres in Melbourne and one in Sydney with a fourth to open in Parramatta in the middle of next year.

“It’s to stimulate kids from a young age and give them a love of learning,” Ms Ward says.

“Under the age of three is when it’s easy for children to acquire a photographic memory.

“We’ve got a few little geniuses but that’s not the aim (although) it can be (a side effect).

“We have a child that can remember the whole periodic table of the elements and that’s something he’s decided to learn on his own accord.

“The majority of our parents just want to give their kids a headstart.”

Her comments come as a global study this week found many 10-year-old students in Hong Kong and Singapore can read and write English better than Australian children.

The Asian students were tested in English and 26 per cent scored top marks — double the proportion in Australia.

But Shichida has its critics with some claiming six months is too young to start early childhood education and that they shouldn’t be burdened by the pressure.

According to University of Sydney early childhood education senior lecturer Dr Marianne Fenech, there’s a substantial body of research to support play-based learning from an early age.

“Play-based early learning is a great way to facilitate children’s early development,” she says. “Learning starts from birth … it doesn’t have to be one-to-one, sit-down, formal rote learning.”

There are some 44,000 children taught by the Shichida method, which was developed in Japan nearly 50 years ago by Professor Makoto Shichida, with more than 490 centres around the world.

‘I put all my kids in brain training when they were babies. And I’m so glad I did.’

This article was originally featured in Mamamia
By Michelle Leong
Shichida Mum, Michelle Leong writes about her children’s experiences at Shichida and the benefits she has seen from starting them young

 

When my oldest child was 16 months old, I was looking for activities to do with him. A friend told me about this early education program called Shichida for young kids, where the activities are mind-blowing. I was interested in finding out what it was all about.

This program isn’t like your standard music class or kinder gymnastics. It’s a whole-brain training program, developed in Japan 40 years ago, that uses puzzles, games, flashcards and songs to develop young children’s memory and problem-solving skills to give them the best start in life.

To be honest, initially I found it really difficult to keep Alric still through the 50-minute class. I didn’t know if I should persist – now I’m so glad I did!

By the time Alric turned two I started to notice that kids around his age weren’t doing the same things as him. His concentration improved so much and he was more attentive. Now he’s eight-years old and his Maths and English is well above most of his peers his age.

My middle son Jensen, who is now five, has also been sitting in at the Shichida classes since day one, and I enrolled him in his age group class when he was six or seven months. It’s funny I remember as a toddler he didn’t talk much, then one day I heard him reading a book – he was only two at the time.

He’s been reading his older brother’s books since he was three, of course he doesn’t have all the comprehension, but his learning capacity is serving him well. He’s been accelerated a year at school and his reading level is like a seven- or eight-year-old.

His thing is numbers. He can confidently remember Pi to 250 digits, in order. I tried to do the same but can only recall 50 digits. There’s no way we can keep up with him.

Some people ask me if I’m trying to raise geniuses – I’m not. I just want to give my kids the best chance to succeed in life. I wasn’t exposed to these sorts of activities when I was young. I was always a really keen learner, but never knew anything like this. I wondered if I had been exposed to these activities, would I be doing something different now?

“Some people ask me if I’m trying to raise geniuses – I’m not. I just want to give my kids the best chance to succeed.” Image: Supplied.

I personally think education at school is really important and I’m re-enforcing that at home. I attend the weekly Shichida lesson and it gives me ideas of what I can be doing at home. I like to give my kids a head start. Some kids struggle at high school and I don’t want to see that in my family.

The main thing for us is that my kids think it’s really fun. They love learning and what I love about the program is that they don’t see it as a chore. They get a real sense of achievement from all of this.

Each of my children is different but they all love numbers! The boys also love their sport and do tennis, judo and swimming. My youngest Elise loves music and dancing. She also loves learning through songs and singing. She’s just turned three and she can read and write basic words, has good comprehension of stories and can easily memorise 15 objects.

The thing I’m realising is it’s not about age. Sometimes I look at kids and think there is no way a two or three-year can do this really amazing activity – but they can.

Jensen, my middle son, has perfect pitch – when I first discovered it, I was pretty shocked, I didn’t even know what it was until I spoke with Shiaoling Lim, the Director at Shichida.

Listen: Ever wondered if your kids teachers are judging the crappy candle of bottle of wine you give them for Christmas? A teacher shares her true feelings on This Glorious Mess (post continues after audio…)

His older brother would be playing the piano and even though he didn’t know the music at the time (he was only three years old) he could re-play the notes on the piano. I remember just before he turned four years old and I was looking around for a piano teacher, a lot of them said he’s too young and didn’t want to teach him because they thought I was pushing him.

If my kids ever said, ‘I don’t want this’, I would never push them. There’s never a day that they would say, ‘I don’t want to do it mum, it’s too hard’.

I hope my children will go as far as they can with Shichida as long as they enjoy it. It’s been amazing for our family and that’s why I’m willing to sacrifice my Saturday morning to get there. The round trip takes me three hours to drive to Melbourne from Geelong and then I’m at the centre for nearly two hours with the children. We also miss a lot of birthday parties and other things, but we’re picking our priorities.

In the future, I certainly hope my kids will be confident to try out new things. It’s really important that they understand that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it. There are many different ways to solve a problem and I hope they will apply those principals that they learned as babies.

Would you enrol your child in a school system this young? 

‘We are not doing enough’: Asian education expert slams Australian parents for slacking off and relying on teachers for their children’s learning

This article was originally featured in Daily Mail
By April Glover
Shichida Director Shiao-Ling Lim discusses the education crisis in Australia and how expensive tutoring in secondary can be avoided by investing in quality early learning.

 

An Asian teaching expert has criticised ‘slack’ Australian parents for their relaxed approach to early childhood education.

Singapore-born Shiaoling Lim, an advocate for the Japanese educational method of Shichida, claims mums and dads are relying too heavily on teachers and are abandoning their responsibility to also educate their offspring.

‘We’ve gone too much to the other extreme in saying ‘kids should just be kids and play’,’ Ms Lim told The Saturday Telegraph.

Singapore-born Shiaoling Lim (pictured) claims mums and dads are relying too heavily on teachers and are abandoning their responsibility to also educate their offspring

Singapore-born Shiaoling Lim (pictured) claims mums and dads are relying too heavily on teachers and are abandoning their responsibility to also educate their offspring

'We've gone too much to the other extreme in saying 'kids should just be kids and play',' Ms Lim told The Saturday Telegraph

‘We’ve gone too much to the other extreme in saying ‘kids should just be kids and play’,’ Ms Lim told The Saturday Telegraph

Ms Lim said most parents offload virtually all educational tutelage to school teachers – and warns more needs to be done at home.

The Sydney-based educator believes if parents are more proactive during the preschool stage of a child’s life, the less likely the child will require secondary tutoring later in their schooling career.

‘In Australia, we are not doing enough from birth through to when children start primary school, and because of this many parents are having to fill the gap with tutoring in secondary school,’ she added.

Ms Lim said the parent is a child’s ‘first and best’ teacher and Australians should be doing more to develop reading, writing and comprehension skills early on.

Ms Lim said most parents offload virtually all educational tutelage to school teachers - and warns more needs to be done at home

Ms Lim said most parents offload virtually all educational tutelage to school teachers – and warns more needs to be done at home

The Sydney-based educator believes if parents are more proactive during the preschool stage of a child's life, the less likely the child will require secondary tutoring later in their schooling career

The Sydney-based educator believes if parents are more proactive during the preschool stage of a child’s life, the less likely the child will require secondary tutoring later in their schooling career

Ms Lim said the parent is a child's 'first and best' teacher and Australians should be doing more to develop reading, writing and comprehension skills early on

Ms Lim said the parent is a child’s ‘first and best’ teacher and Australians should be doing more to develop reading, writing and comprehension skills early on

She also compared Australian mothers and fathers unfavourably against Asian parents.

‘A high proportion of these [Asian] students get ATAR scores above 90,’ she said.

It is not the first time Ms Lim has cast doubt on Australia’s education culture.

Last year she slammed Australia’s child care system for being too expensive and letting down families by being too ‘vague’.

Last year Ms Lim slammed Australia's child care system for being too expensive and letting down families by being too 'vague'

Last year Ms Lim slammed Australia’s child care system for being too expensive and letting down families by being too ‘vague’

‘The early learning framework is vague, with general outcomes like encouraging children to learn through play and become confident and happy learners – in many cases this isn’t translating to what is happening in the daycares,’ Ms Lim said.

‘During the first three years of life the brain is being formed the fastest – a baby’s brain is like a sponge yet in most cases their learning potential is not being maximised.’

At Ms Lim’s Shichida Early Learning Centres in Melbourne and Sydney – where children are taught using a brain training program developed in Japan – most four and five-year-olds can recite Pi to the 100th place, recall a sequence of 300 flashcards and do basic addition and subtraction.

'In Australia, we are not doing enough from birth through to when children start primary school, and because of this many parents are having to fill the gap with tutoring in secondary school,' Ms Lim added

‘In Australia, we are not doing enough from birth through to when children start primary school, and because of this many parents are having to fill the gap with tutoring in secondary school,’ Ms Lim added.

Page 1 of 212