How to be Your Child’s First (and Best) Teacher | Episode 5 SHICHIDA Shining Stars Podcast

In this episode, we invited the Centre Manager for the SHICHIDA Australia Doncaster campus, Marcelle Coetzee, to give us some tips on how parents can support their children’s education at home.


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 center manager for our SHICHIDA Australia Doncaster Campus. Marcelle Coetzee. Hi, Marcelle.

Marcelle: Hi, Danh. Thank you so much for having me today.

Danh: Marcelle is here to talk to us about your child’s first and best teacher. Now, Marcelle, who is a child’s best teacher?

Marcelle: So Danh, the SHICHIDA Method emphasizes the crucial role that parents play to be their child’s first and best teacher. It is really important that the parents take on this very responsible role and guide their child through their early years and obviously set a really good foundation to continue on as their child matures and develops.

Danh: And obviously, parents know their children best, right?

Marcelle: Correct.

Danh: So they are in a really good position to be able to educate their child. But I guess one of the main barriers for parents in doing this is that they might be unsure about what their child’s educational needs are. Because, you know, when we grew up, education was very different, the education landscape was very different than it is today. But like ,once parents kind of like get a grasp on what their kids need, they’ll be in a better position to be able to help their children.

Can you give some advice to some parents that are trying to help their kids with their learning and how parents themselves can become their child’s first and best teacher?

Marcelle: Thank you, Danh. I’m so happy and excited to be talking about these points today because joining the SHICHIDA Program is wonderful to get some advice and some support from a community that understands and wants to obviously, you know, help you educate your child from a very early age. So I have some points that I want to highlight about why the parents are the child’s first and best teacher. So if you’re okay with it, I’ll run us through eight of these important points.

Firstly, bonding and connection. So as a parent, you obviously have a very unique bond and connection with your child, and the SHICHIDA Method encourages utilizing this bond to facilitate learning and development. Your presence and engagement in your child’s learning journey is absolutely invaluable.

You also know your child better than anybody else. So being actively involved in your child’s learning process, you can tailor activities and experiences to suit their interests, their strengths and their areas for growth. This personalized approach also enhances the learning experience and of course, fosters a deeper understanding of your child.

Now, nature versus nurture. One of the things that the SHICHIDA Method encourages is a nurturing environment. And what better place to start that nurturing environment than a child’s home because it is their first classroom. So by creating a nurturing and supportive environment, you set the stage for optimal learning. And the SHICHIDA Method emphasizes the importance of a calm, a positive atmosphere where learning is encouraged and, of course, celebrated. And of course, then, as we know, children are looking for role models and they copy behavior. So it’s really important that children learn by example. And so as a parent, you are your child’s primary teacher and you have the opportunity to model positive behaviors and attitudes towards learning by demonstrating things like curiosity, perseverance, and a love for learning. You can inspire your child to do the same.

Danh: Yeah, we always say that kids are absorbing everything around them, not just information but emotions as well. So it is really important for parents to kind of model positive behavior even when their children are very young, even when they’re babies, right?

Marcelle: Correct. And I do like that you have pointed out that they don’t just copy behavior, but also emotions. And, you know, children are like sponges and they learn by, you know, taking things in and obviously then copying behavior.

So one of the other important and I guess really practical ways we can teach our children as parents is to embrace everyday teachable moments. So learning doesn’t just happen in a structured setting like, you know, for example, in a classroom. It occurs in the everyday moments. You know, SHICHIDA encourages parents to embrace these teachable moments, whether it’s during playtime, meal time or daily routines, even when you’re out shopping.

You can use this as a teachable moment or even when you are driving and spending some time in the car. These are empowering, very important and teachable moments where you can have conversations with your child.

Danh: Yeah, we can always sing songs in the car to help with learning. And like you said at the supermarket as well, taking the time to ask your child, where are the apples or what color are the apples? How many apples should we put in the basket? Let’s count them together.

Marcelle: That’s right. And one of the other things that I always tell parents is that SHICHIDA actually develops and fosters the memory component of the brain. And what better way to teach a child than by, for example, asking them to remember five items on your shopping list, making it a game or something fun that you can experience with your child. And I think you will be surprised to see how much they do remember and how excited they are to be contributing to a routine daily task.

Danh: That’s a great idea. Yeah, I love how it’s framed as helping mom and dad, but they’re also practicing their memorization ability and they’re also learning very important emotional intelligence lessons, like the meaning of being helpful and the value of being helpful as well.

Marcelle: Absolutely correct. Which actually brings me to another point that I want to talk about, and that is that as parents, we have the ability to encourage our children’s creativity and the way they explore life and the world around them. So children are obviously naturally curious and creative. So as their first teacher, you can nurture these qualities by providing opportunities for them to explore and be creative.

And whether this is through art, music, imaginative play, but also encouraging your child to explore the world around them. This can foster a lifelong love for learning. And I have to say, you know, as a parent myself of two children, I see the world through their eyes and learn through their eyes as well. Because as adults, we sometimes forget to look at things in a simpler way.

And children are just really curious and inquisitive. And I also feel that we have to take the time and the opportunity to answer questions that our children might have. You know, and I feel like it’s okay if we don’t know the answer to a question. I have said to my children many times that that’s a really great question, actually, I’m not sure. But you know what? Let’s find out together what the answer is or it’s even okay to say, you know what, thank you for the question. I’m not sure, but let me find out. I think as adults, we feel like we have to know everything, you know, and especially children in the 21st century. They are very curious and there’s an influx of information that hits their brain every single day.

So it’s okay. Encourage them to ask questions and be okay with the fact that if you don’t know, you can find out.

Danh: That’s right. Yeah. We always say at SHICHIDA, you know, we’re not teaching kids the answers, but we’re teaching them the means for them to find their own answers, right? So that’s a really good lesson to take, is that it’s okay to not know the answers sometimes, as long as we know how to get the answers and we have to drive to pursue the answers is what’s important.

Marcelle: Correct. And also, we want to encourage, you know, children who think outside the box and, you know, children who look at something and see it from a different perspective because this is what’s going to drive the future. And we are going to need more people who actually have the ability to do some critical thinking and problem solving and think outside the box.

One of the other points I want to mention is that, of course, being actively involved in your child’s learning journey, you can help your child build the confidence and resilience. And it’s really such an important concept that all children have to master. You know, the resilience. Things are not going to always work out in our favor and we are going to make mistakes and we are going to not succeed at things on the first go. But we have to install in them that idea that if you set your mind to something, you can do it, but you just have to keep trying.

So children really need encouragement, positive encouragement, praise, support. And you have the power to take your child on these challenges and teach them to persevere in the face of setbacks. It’s okay if they see you as the adult making a mistake. You know, I had to learn as well with my two boys to say that I made a mistake, maybe I could have done it a different way. But I’m not giving up. I’m just finding a different way of looking at things or doing things.

It’s again, like you mentioned Danh before, it’s about the emotional intelligence. And this is where SHICHIDA actually really helps to find the balance between the academics and the EQ, the emotional intelligence.

Of course, when children are little, they have setbacks, they have tantrums. But of course we can we can guide them through that.

Danh: 100% And that’s why I think programs like SHICHIDA are so valuable, because it’s so unique in that there aren’t many, if any, programs in Australia where the parents and the children are in the class together doing the activities together as a team, right?

Marcelle:  Absolutely. I would have loved to be able to bring my children to the SHICHIDA Program. My children are a bit older, like 20 and 16.

Danh: But I love how you still call them children.

Marcelle: Their children, you know, the children, my children, they will always be my babies. You know, I just always say to parents, I think this is why I am so passionate about teaching the SHICHIDA Method.

I would love to have had this as a tool and a guide as well. When, you know, I was raising my children all these years ago, and I think it’s wonderful that parents are also open to receiving guidance and feedback. And, you know, they’re looking for that support. And I think I just wanted to emphasize as well that here at SHICHIDA, right across Australia, we are a community and we are here to help and support each other in a positive learning environment.

And this is absolutely one of the things that I love about the SHICHIDA Method is the care, the compassion, the empathy that teachers especially have for these students, which of course then relates back to you as your child’s first and best teacher at home.

Danh: All right. Thank you so much, Marcelle, for all of your useful tips. I learned a lot as well. Thank you so much. But yeah, 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 a 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 in education, visit 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.

Join us next week as we talk about the importance of developing emotional intelligence in your child. Thank you so much for listening and thank you again, Marcelle, for joining us.

Marcelle: Thank you very much. Danh, I really enjoyed speaking to you. Thank you so much.

Danh: Until next time, bye bye.

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