It has long been proven that early childhood memory and a sustained attention span are good predictors of academic growth and the direction a child grows in.
Good memory skills are vital to a child’s development and future. A child who is able to apply memory strategy instruction has huge potential and this is yet to be uncovered by formal schooling.
How often do you see children as little as one year old being entertained by an electronic device in their pram, in the car or even at the dinner table? Not to mention, adults walking down the street with their heads down and eyes fixed on their smart devices.
Nicholas Carr wrote a book called ‘The Shallows – What the Internet is doing to our brains’. Carr explained how the internet impacts the way we learn, recall information and solve problems.
We are using the internet as a form of cognitive offloading. We are no longer devoting our cognitive real estate to remember anything that can easily be found on the internet. We do not try to remember phone numbers anymore since it can be stored on our digital devices. We are not required to remember data or facts , as long as we have access to the internet. With information readily accessible, we do not even need to remember directions as long as we have Google Maps.
As Carr posits, “Google is making us stupid” and the way we think has taken a ‘staccato quality’. We often skim through sentences and paragraphs. The need to memorise important facts as we read feels redundant as the information can be retrieved again for us to go through.
How memory impacts a child’s future
Adults are considered digital immigrants. We were born and brought up before the widespread use of digital technology and devices, whilst our children, the digital natives, were born in an era where technology is omnipresent in our daily life.
Given that we, the digital immigrants, are outsourcing our memory to the internet or Google, it would be careless of us not to consider some vital questions:
- What will happen to our children and future generations growing up in this era as digital natives?
- How will it affect children especially in their sensitive years of development?
- Is memory an important component in the learning process for children?
- Can memory be protected or trained from childhood to prevent it from being lost due to the advancement in technology?
What part does cognition play in a child’s learning?
Cognition is the process of acquiring knowledge through our thoughts, experiences and senses. Similarly, the learning process involves acquiring knowledge through experience, study and exposure. Cognition and learning are both essential to acquiring the cognitive skills we need in life. We need our brain to think, read, learn, remember, reason and pay attention.
Our working memory is part of our cognitive system. It acts as a temporary storage for information that we need to process. It helps with our critical thinking, decision-making and reasoning. Our working memory allows us to hold onto information so that we can use it – thus, the working part.
Our pre-frontal cortex is responsible for the development of our basic cognitive functions. In the early developmental years, the growth in the pre-frontal cortex is greater; which explains why there is such a strong correlation between memory and academic learning.
You only have a limited window of time to powerfully change your child’s future
At approximately two and a half years, children begin to demonstrate increases in their ability to sustain focused attention and use their working memory to solve problems. During the preschool years, brain growth occurs at an unparalleled rate. This results in structural changes that chart a developmental course for the capacity to store and manipulate information, pay attention and exercise cognitive control. Indeed, the importance of both attention and memory skills for academic success is supported by both theory and research. Many theorists have shown that both short-term and working memory are required for the complex cognitive operations involved in learning mathematics and reading.
Working memory is one of the cognitive mechanisms that underpins children’s learning. Research has shown that performance on working memory measures is highly predictive of several scholastic skills during childhood. There is evidence that a good working memory at the start of formal education is a more powerful predictor of subsequent academic success than IQ. This has significant implications for education, specifically with early intervention.
Do something now. Intervene now to save you and your child’s years of challenges ahead
Working memory can be improved though training. This would alleviate learning difficulties at school. If children are well-equipped and given the know-how in their early years, it helps to pre-empt and minimise the need for intervention in the later years.
How does Shichida change your child’s future
The Shichida program focuses on the development of memory in young children. In fact, the Shichida method stands in contrast to what is happening to digital technology. At Shichida, efforts are being made to enhance the memory of children as young as one-year-old. It is a small step that parents around the world have adopted to help develop and stimulate their child’s cognitive abilities.
Shichida’s children – bringing out their extraordinary potential
Some of the exciting outcomes of children going through the Shichida program include children recalling up to 1000 items and up to 200 decimal places of Pi. Because Shichida children love learning and are intrinsically motivated to learn, they go to school ready to excel beyond numeracy and literacy.
With the skills that they acquire at Shichida, learning becomes easy. The children are exposed to learning from an early age, creating a positive relationship with learning and equating it with having fun.
Lynne Kelly, author of the book ‘The Memory Code’, identified the powerful memory technique used by indigenous people around the world. Indigenous elders used story-telling techniques to name and remember all animals, plants and stars in their surroundings. This is a stark contrast to us today when we struggle to recall a friend’s phone number.
Similarly, children who have gone through the Shichida training are taught various mnemonic techniques and memory strategies. Mnemonics are systems designed to help one remember information. This technique is unfortunately not taught at kinder and schools but is very helpful when learning and organising information.
Some examples of what Shichida children can do:
This is an example of an eidetic image activity for a 5-year-old child. This picture of a mandala is shown to the children for 5 seconds, after which they close their eyes for another 5 seconds while replicating the picture in their mind. This is repeated a second time before the children are given an uncoloured mandala for them to replicate.
Eidetic image activity completed by a 5-year-old in the first and second week which she was shown the mandala above.
William, 5, took matters in his own hands and decided to write the letter below to the Government to address the dangers of a railway crossing near his house. William had the chance to meet the Premier Daniel Andrew to present his letter directly to him, and his letter went a long way to initiating positive changes.
At four years old, Remi loves numbers and decided to create his own grid for multiplication at home. This was beyond what was done in class as he was looking for more challenges. Below, there is a copy of his work with questions set and answered by himself.
Jamin, who is five years old wrote this little piece at school in his Prep year. This task was given to the class to write about a video they had just watched about fruit bats. His school teacher was amazed at the details that Jamin recalled and that he was able to write it down so eloquently.