Unveiling an Education Legacy: The Shichida Family | Episode 1 SHICHIDA Shining Stars Podcast

Shichida podcast Shining stars Episode 1 image featuring Makoto Shichida and happy Shichida kids

In the very first episode of the SHICHIDA Shining Stars Podcast, we talked to the grandson of Makoto Shichida, the founder of the SHICHIDA Method of early childhood education – the one and only Kodai Shichida. Join us as we chat to Kodai about his experience growing up with a legend of early childhood education and reminisce on the time he spent going to SHICHIDA lessons as a young child, as well as how these experiences paved the way for his success later in life.

Transcript

Danh: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the very first episode of the SHICHIDA Shining Stars Podcast, a podcast where we address all the questions parents have about early childhood education. My name is Mr. Danh, and with me today is a very special guest. Joining us all the way from Japan. He is the grandson of Makoto Shichida, the founder of the SHICHIDA Method of early childhood education. 

Welcome to the show, Kodai Shichida!  

Kodai: Hi, this Kodai! 

Danh: Hi Kodai. How are you?  

Kodai: Good, good. Thank you. How are you? 

Danh: I’m well as well, thank you. Kodai is here today to talk to us about what it was like growing up with Makoto Shichida and being a part of the Shichida family.  

So for those that are new to the SHICHIDA Method of early childhood education, the revolutionary program was developed by Makoto Shichida, who was a prominent teacher in Japan, who taught students of all ages. Through his lifetime of teaching experience, he noticed how easily young children were able to pick up new skills and information – much easier and faster than teens or adults. Working from this observation, he put over 60 years of research into developing the SHICHIDA Method, which has since been helping even the youngest of children discover a passion for learning. Kodai… 

Kodai: Yes? 

Danh: So your grandfather was the founder of SHICHDIA and developed the SHICHIDA Method of early education based on years of research and experience with kids. Could you talk us through what was it like growing up with him?  

Kodai: Yes. Firstly, he was a very calm person. 

Danh: Were you guys like in the same household or..?  

Kodai: We were in different houses because I was living with my parents and my grandparents were in different house. But also, you know, we used to meet regularly and you know, every time I went to his house, he was always welcoming me. And also like, you know, he spent time with me doing catch ball, playing cards. We played cards together. That’s a very nice memory. Yep. 

Danh: Nice. What kind of card games would you play with him? 

Kodai: We played like a memory game – matching game. That’s like I get, you know, like an ACE and then I want to find the other ACE.  

Danh: Okay.  

Kodai: That was fun. That was very fun.  

Danh: That’s interesting. Because obviously the SHICHIDA Method also has a pretty strong emphasis on developing memory skills. And also a strong emphasis on fun. So it’s interesting that one of your clearest memories of playing a game with your granddad was about, you know, a fun memory card game. 

 

Kodai: Yeah.  

Danh: And you also mentioned that the shooter was very calm person, yeah? Are you saying that because you were quite a naughty child?  

Kodai: *laughs* Well, I wouldn’t say I was very, very naughty. 

I mean, I was naughty in, you know, I think in a normal way. I wasn’t TOO naughty I would say. But yes, he was always there to, you know, tell me when I did something bad as well. 

He wanted me to respect other people. Like other kids. Yeah. 

Like there was the one time I had, like a big ball – like a yoga ball. It was a big ball. And I only had one ball. There was another kid, even though there’s only one ball. And I was playing with the ball and my grandpa – because I was using the ball for the whole time and you know, I was holding to it – he once told me off. Yeah.  

Danh: Okay. So he was trying to teach you to kind of think about other people, yeah? And develop that, that emotional intelligence as well. 

Kodai: Yes. So like, it’s more love and strictness. It was not only praising all the time, but also he was strict sometimes.  

Danh: And you have to be, yeah? We’ll talk about that a bit more with Marcelle in a later episode, but those three core pillars of parenting: love, strictness and trust, yeah? So strictness is still a big part of parenting and teaching children what the boundaries are so that they can develop that emotional intelligence and learn how to put themselves in other people’s shoes. 

So it seems like even just hanging out with your grandpa, it almost feels like you’re taking a SHICHIDA lesson because the kids are developing your memory and also you’re developing, you know, emotional intelligence. So just from your stories, your anecdotes, I can see so much the SHICHIDA philosophy is just stuff that Makoto Shichida just lived by day to day. 

Kodai: Yeah.  

Danh: So that’s that’s really interesting. Thanks, Kodai.  

Kodai: Thank you too. 

Danh: So outside of spending, you know, just personal time with your grandpa, you also grew up with the SHICHIDA Program, is that right?  

Kodai: Yes, that’s correct. Yes.  

Danh: Do you remember what age you started taking lessons at SHICHIDA?  

Kodai: I started when I was in my mom’s womb.  

Danh: Okay, so there’s a prenatal program in Japan. 

Kodai: Yes. There’s a prenatal program. 

Danh: Nice.  

Kodai: Yes, I wasn’t even born.  

Danh: So it might be hard for you to remember those lessons, but do you have any memories about going through the program? Obviously, you would have been very young while you were taking classes, but maybe you can tell us about some of your earliest memories taking classes at SHICHIDA. 

Kodai: Yes, of course. One of the memories I remember is I don’t know, when I was three, four years old, I was pretty young. I remember doing, you know, like Ka-ching Ka-ching and writing Mini DaVinci Map stories. Okay. And doing numbers and clocks as well. Time – analogue time – the fundamental concepts. I still remember doing that when I was a young age. 

Danh: Did you have a favorite activity?  

Kodai: I like counting blocks and I also liked the Pi Song. Remembering the Pi Song helped me to have confidence to work with numbers. 

Danh: So it kind of exposed you to a lot of numbers, yeah? I guess for those unfamiliar with the Pi song, it is basically a song that recites the circular constant of Pi. 

But more than that, it’s an exercise in auditory memory. So by singing along with the Pi song, we’re kind of practicing memorizing a large data set by using our voice and bone conduction as well as our ears. So yeah, I mean, because it is such a large group of numbers, I can see why having, you know, an affinity with that exercise would give you a bit more confidence in numbers. 

Would you say that as a kid you are more interested in the numbers aspects or more interested in writing and reading or maybe the critical thinking side of things?  

Kodai: If I had to choose, I would say numbers and critical thinking. Can you still recite pi? Yes, I can still recite up to 100. 

Danh: Go on, then. Just kidding. 

Kodai: Okay. Okay. Because I have to say in Japanese in my head and then translate it. So it’s a bit hard. But yes, 3.1415926535. Yeah.  

Danh: Very good. Excellent. Okay, so you still got it. And you mentioned the English side of things. So obviously you grew up in Japan speaking Japanese as your native tongue, but I imagine you were also learning English at the time at school or once you got to school age. 

I don’t know so much about the SHICHIDA program in Japan, but is there an English program as well? 

Kodai: Yes, we do teach English for Japanese speakers where we incorporate the SHICHIDA essence. So like even though they might not be fully ready to learn English at first sight, we do learn, say, like colors or shapes in English. So that’s the idea of English lessons in Japan. Yeah. 

Danh: So it’s kind of more like immersing them in the English language so that they can absorb it better as really young kids. So yeah, similar to a lot of concepts that we use in SHICHIDA. A lot of it, especially in the early ages, is about input more than output. 

Kodai: Yeah.  

Danh:  But would you say that, you know, going through that experience – because you’re, you know, we’re obviously doing this interview entirely in English, would you say that, you know, doing lessons at SHICHIDA at an early age helped you kind of pick up the language a bit easier? 

Kodai: Yes. Yes, for sure. I started being really serious about learning English in high school and from that time, I’m pretty sure I was picking things up very quick. It was relatively easy to remember what the English words and phrases mean, and then, you know, like also speaking conversations and everything. Yes. Being immersed in English from a young age has really, really helped me. And I like the idea of being able to understand English so that I can get more opportunities to work and to look at articles that are written in English. 

Yeah, that’s helping me a lot.  

Danh: Yeah. And I guess even though you started, you know, learning English in earnest once you got to high school, I guess also that solid foundation, not just in English, but in just kind of memory skills that you built in SHICHIDA have probably helped you a lot when you actually, you know, buckled down and started studying English as well. 

I guess also the exposure to English and things like numbers and critical thinking. It’s also designed to help kids find what they might be passionate about in the future. And that’s kind of the beauty of SHICHIDA is because the curriculum is so varied, no matter what kids become interested in later in life, they have the skill set and they have that foundation to pick it up really quickly. 

And it’s great that that was able to transfer to you when you were studying English in high school.  

Kodai: Yes. 

Danh: But I also wanted to talk about how you felt during the lessons at SHICHIDA. Do you remember how it felt taking classes week to week? 

Kodai: Yes, I do remember. I remember going there and then enjoying all the time. Pretty much all the time. Yes. Maybe there are some times I may not feel like going, but, you know, once I go there and then start doing activities that always made me focus to what I needed to do at the time. 

Danh: Yeah, I guess we see that a lot with our young students, yeah? Like sometimes they just kind of not in the mood, you know? Maybe they’re hungry, maybe they’re tired. But, you know, once we sing the Hello Song, once we start doing the bubble, it’s almost like a switch. And then they start, like, really enjoying themselves. And again, that’s a huge part of the SHICHIDA philosophy, right, is to make sure that the learning is fun for the kids.  

Kodai: Yes. And I wasn’t the exception to that. 

Danh: Yeah, that’s great. And since then, Kodai, you’ve gone on to study in a lot of different places, including Australia, yeah? Do you feel that the SHICHIDA program helped you along the way? 

Kodai: Yes, for sure. I think the biggest thing is the love of learning. I think I have been a kid with big curiosity, which helps me to go deeper in whatever the topic that I needed to study. 

 

Danh: Okay. Yeah. And because you have like that natural, innate curiosity that drives you to kind of find the answers for yourself, yeah? And like, if you have the drive to learn, then that’s like half the battle, right? 

Kodai: Yes. And also, I think I was confident because I was doing SHICHIDA, thanks to my parents. I knew things in advance, especially when I was a very young kid and that, you know, being advanced from a young age allowed me to have confidence and being confident in school helped me to learn more. 

I think SHICHIDA really, really contributed. 

Danh: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. You know, we see it all the time when we’re teaching. Once a child feels confident in what they’re doing, that’s when they actively want to keep doing it and keep getting better and better at it, as opposed to if they’re not confident in something, they can be very quick to give up. 

Kodai: Yes. 

Danh: So, yeah, it’s great that, you know, SHICHDIA was able to give you that solid foundation, but also that innate love of learning. Excellent. Thank you so much, Kodai, for joining us today and talking to us about your experience growing up with Makoto Shichida and also your experience being one of the original SHICHIDA kids.  

And remember everybody, your baby is learning and absorbing information from day one, so it’s never too early to start supporting their learning. 

The SHICHIDA program is a weekly 50-minute learning program using fun brain-boosting techniques for children aged 0 to 9. Each class accelerates your child’s development by providing the vital elements for them to thrive and excel. For more information on how the SHICHDIA program has been helping parents and kids get an early start in education, visit www.shichida.com.au 

You can enter the coupon code FUN50 to receive a 50% discount on your first lesson. Alternatively, you can follow us on Instagram @shichidaaustralia. You can join our Facebook group to be part of the conversation or you can subscribe to our YouTube channel to get instant access to a wealth of parenting and early childhood education videos. 

Please join us next week as we invite the Director of SHICHIDA Australia, Shiaoling Lim, on to talk about how SHICHIDA came to Australia. 

Thank you so much for listening and thank you again, Kodai, for joining us. 

Kodai: Thank you so much. Thanks for listening and thank you for having me too. 

Danh: Until next time. Bye bye. Bye bye. 

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