How SHICHIDA came to Australia | Episode 2 SHICHIDA Shining Stars Podcast

Shichida podcast Shining stars Episode 2 image, featuring a map showing Australia

In this episode we invited the director and co-founder of SHICHIDA Australia, Shiaoling Lim, onto the show to talk about how SHICHIDA made its way to Australia. Join us as we chat to Shiaoling about how she discovered the SHICHIDA Program, why she decided it was something that she needed to bring to Australia, and how she feels it is helping kids in Australia discover a love of learning, while helping parents understand how they can become their child’s first and best teacher.

Transcript

Danh: Hello, everybody, and welcome to another 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, the director and co-founder of SHICHIDA Australia. Shiaoling Lim. Hi Shiaoling.

Shiaoling: Hi Danh. Hi everyone.

Danh: Shiaoling is here to talk to us today about how it is that SHICHIDA came to Australia.
For those that don’t know, for perhaps first-time listeners of this podcast, SHICHIDA is a revolutionary brain training program designed to bring out the innate abilities of children from a very early age. Now, the method was developed originally in Japan by a teacher named Makoto Shichida, who put over 60 years of research and experience into developing the teaching method.
So Shiaoling, considering that the SHICHIDA Method is originally a Japanese program, can you please tell us what about the SHICHIDA Method of early education caught your attention, and why did you decide that it was something that you needed to bring to Australia?
Shiaoling: Well, it started with myself becoming a mother when I was expecting my child, like 20+ years ago.
I was thinking about what was it that I could do with him or what was it that I could give him in that sense to help bring out what’s inside of him. And I was looking for something that I could provide for him, something that he could use to create his own life or find his own element, bringing out the best in himself.
I think that’s the best way of ultimately allowing him to create a rewarding life for himself. It wasn’t really an academic thing that I was looking for. I guess growing up where I grew up, where everything was all about exams and grades. That certainly wasn’t something that I was looking to repeat, the same kind of upbringing that I went through.
Danh: So you’re talking about the educational mentality in Singapore. Is that right?
Shiaoling: Yes, that’s right. That’s right. The competitive upbringing that we went through. So it certainly wasn’t something that I wanted to kind of put him through. But at the same time, too, of course, I wanted him to be able to use whatever his skills might be in order to give himself a rewarding life.
So that was when a lot of friends and relatives spoke about the SHICHIDA Method, which at that point it was really hard to kind of understand what that was about, because I guess as many people realize, those who have encountered SHICHIDA, it is very hard to describe what this program is.
Danh: But you were looking for something maybe a little bit more holistic than what you were used to growing up, but still something to kind of help your son, you know, reach his full potential academically as well?
Shiaoling: Academically, yes. But I think really just being that self-motivated, curious person, of course, with empathy and really just being able to see that he can, you know, present the best form of himself and be able to contribute with what he’s got. I guess it’s what every parent would want ultimately want – for their child to be of use to society. For their child to live a better life than themselves.
Yeah. So I didn’t really know what it was until someone actually passed me the Mystery of Right Brain book, written by Makoto Shichida. That gave it a bit more context about what this program was about.
Danh: Okay. So you were looking more from a consumer point of view rather than a business opportunity initially, right?
Shiaoling: Yeah, definitely from a consumer point of view, I guess ideally it would have been great if he was able to go through the SHICHIDA Method itself. I think when I read the Mystery of Right Brain book, I was really excited about what was in there because I just felt like it was very… the concept, the whole philosophy was very maternal instinct, like actually. So because it was exactly what I just said early on about really bringing out the best in the child, having the child, you know, have aspirations of what they want to do and how they can contribute to society and do well in whatever area they might choose to.
So that was the bit that got me really excited about what this meant. And I certainly did think that it was something very, very different from anything else out there that’s available to children, whether it’s in Singapore or whether it’s in Australia.
Danh: Yeah. Okay. So you were kind of motivated by a desire to develop your son as a person?
Shiaoling: Yeah. Again, growing up in Singapore, we have also seen a lot of, you know, people who are academically really smart and really good. But then when they come out to society, I guess how well-rounded they are and how much service to other people is in their minds or how they can contribute to the bigger cause.
Danh: Right. I see. And in your experience as both a mother and as a, you know, early childhood education professional, would you say that the motivation you had is similar for a lot of parents?
Shiaoling: Yes, I think especially for parents who are attracted to the SHICHIDA Method or the SHICHIDA Program over the years, I don’t think that innermost wish is any different or too much different from where I was coming from.
Of course, along the way too, there will be parents who are really focused on the academic outcome, and certainly there is a big group of parents who is after that balanced and holistic view of what education should be for children. But I guess one of the things that was really interesting when we first started out was that many people do think that learning should be something that should just start when they go to school. And in the early years, you know, they should just play.
Danh: Yeah
Shiaoling: I think what’s important to note and I’m all for play too, just looking back at, you know, what it would have been in Asia. But I guess the thing that differentiates this program is that the kind of play that we involve with the children, it’s very of a constructive nature and very purposeful too.

So the important thing is with the kids coming through, they do feel like they’re playing, but actually at the same time, they’re taking a lot out from there, I think. I’m all for the point about, you know, taking advantage of the early years when the kids are still learning and growing and just absorbing everything like sponge. The way how this program appealed to me was that it was second nature in the way they learn and they process information and being able to, I guess, give them the tools or the framework to learn so that then ultimately, you know, processing information for them is really easy and effortless.

Danh: Yeah. I mean the way like SHICHIDA lessons are structured, it just does feel like playing really. Like kids aren’t conscious that they are learning new skills and developing their new skills. They just see it as play. And I think that’s a big part for parents as well. Just from all the parents that I’ve come across as a teacher, like a big deciding factor on whether they want to continue with SHICHIDA is whether their kids are having fun. So I think I think that’s a big motivator for parents as well, is to find a program where their kids can have fun, but also kind of take away some learning as well.

Shiaoling: Yeah, And I think one of the things that appealed to me too, about this program was parents being in the class with the children, too. So for me, I guess being a parent, I wanted to kind of always have that front row seat to kind of watch how my child learns and what is it that my child enjoys and wanting to have that hands-on involvement with his learning too.

So I felt that the way the program was structured, it wasn’t just for the kids, but it was as much for the parents to participate and then go off thinking of ideas and suggestions that, you know, we could be doing with our children while we are maybe waiting for the food to come, when you’re out in a restaurant or when you’re driving somewhere to have a game based on some of the activities that is being done in class.

Danh: Yeah, and then that many programs or – I don’t know if there are even any programs like that, have that kind of parent child, you know, cooperation. Yeah, participation – within the classroom anyway. In that way I guess it’s also about educating the parents on how to be their child’s first and best teacher as well, right?

Shiaoling: Yes.

Danh: So did you participate in classes with your son as well?

Shiaoling: Well, the unfortunate thing was, that by the time I got everything up and running, he was pretty much already too old for the program to teach. He missed the boat altogether, which was a bit unfortunate.

Danh: Yeah, but that’s okay because you’ve passed on the SHICHIDA legacy to a lot of grateful parents in Australia.

And in that way, Shiaoling, do you see parents perception of early childhood education change as they progress through the program, like I guess their purpose for joining the program? Do you see kind of a shift in that as they progress and they come to understand more about what SHICHIDA is about?

Shiaoling: Yes, definitely. And I think this is also something that we continuously try to do and I guess educate, you know, the community, the parents, because I guess the more that they appreciate what the philosophy is and our approach is to the student method, the better they’re going to get out of the program altogether, because it’s not just what do you teach your child. It’s really even a parenting philosophy, a parenting approach to kind of keep in mind that the participation that we have in our child’s education journey, you know, really making the decision – the good decision – for them and with them about education will certainly allow us to go a long way to help them become the people that they can be.

I guess that that reassurance, that confidence that we can give to the children, that celebration when they, you know, learn something, just that presence with them. And over the years, many parents have actually said to me in my conversation with them is that this was something that they certainly wished that they had themselves as a child. And I think recently it was really touching that a dad said that to me at the daughter’s graduation event. He said exactly the same thing, and he said that my life would have been so much easier if I had this. But I’m glad I’m able to give my children the opportunity to go through this.

So I think it has definitely changed over the years. For the last 15 years, from day one till now, we certainly have seen like parents need less convincing to kind of realize that really the early years matters. The years before you go to school matters, the earlier that you start interacting with your child and I guess providing stimulation to the children, it certainly makes a difference in the way the brain will develop and how they can pick up information and knowledge easily.

Danh: Yeah, and that’s why the SHICHIDA Program starts from as young as six months old.

Shiaoling: Right.

Danh: And yes, maybe even sooner than that in the future.

Shiaoling: Yeah. The prenatal program is on its way. But yes, certainly the earlier that we start, the earlier that we are taking advantage of the window of opportunity in those first few years to lay the foundation for the children.

Danh: Thank you so much for your time today, Shiaoling, and for your insights as to how it was that the SHICHIDA Program came to Australia. I’m sure we’ll have you back on for another episode in the future.

Everybody, please remember that your baby is learning and absorbing information from day one, so it’s never too early to start supporting their learning at the future. 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 SHICHIDA Program has been helping parents and kids get an early start on education visit www.shichida.com.au. You can enter the coupon code FUN50 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 well as we discuss some of the reasons why it’s super important to get an early start on your child’s education.

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

Shiaoling: Thank you, Mr. Danh. I look forward to talking to you soon.

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

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