Heguru Right Brain Training
When Sonia was less than a year old, Meijia (a mother of 3 now), introduced me to Heguru. Her son, Gibson, was then only six months old and Sonia was two months older.
I went “W.H.A.T?”
My girl just learnt how to sit, she couldn’t articulate or string a proper sentence, she couldn’t stand on her own, let not to say, walk. She was a BABY! Yes, that was the word, “a BABY”. I wouldn’t expect her to sit through a one-hour lesson with her peers while the teachers work on their right brain. That was ridiculous! And so I thought it was until I met up with Meijia some one year later. I was pleasantly surprised at how Gibson was able to recognise colours and shapes and fit the magnets (they come in different shapes and colours) onto the Iroita sheet according to their patterns.
He was also able to count and I thought I heard him mumbling to himself “1 + 2 is 3” while flexing his fingers, trying to count. I was I.M.P.R.E.S.S.E.D. Totally! And so, I enrolled Sonia for the Heguru Right Brain Training Programme when she was two.
Many family and friends had asked me if sending them to such classes were of any use (considering that my kids are still really young). My answer, a resounding “YES” (if you are referring to Sonia). And a “not too sure” (if you are referring to Arnold).
The pace of the class is exceedingly fast. In both Sonia and Arnold’s classes, we have two Heguru teachers – one main teacher and another assistant teacher who helps to provide a seamless transition from one activity to the other. Each class contains a maximum of six children. And only one parent or guardian is allow to accompany the child. Their classes last for an hour, sometimes, slightly longer. When lessons are over, there is a 10-minute parental guidance talk.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures in class during lessons for the obvious reason (kids get distracted too easily), else I would love to share them with you so you could get a better idea of what the kids are doing in class.
Here are some pictures I took of Arnold before class. They may give you a better idea of the classroom setting.
Activities in class
- Link Memory (Right Brain Memorisation) – Making a funny story out of the cards and memorising them.
Sonia: This is Sonia’s favourite activity (and mine too). We do this a lot at home too!
Arnold: He very much crashes and eats the cards. But on good days, he seems to be able to identify the object on the card. For example, I would hold two cards before him and ask that he taps on a certain object. If he does it correctly a few times, I reckon he really does understand and is able to correctly identify the object. If it’s just by luck, I will know it.
- Super Flash Cards – The teacher will read and flash various themes/genres of cards to the child. This, apparently, will enable the child to enter into the right brain level.
Sonia: She would sit and concentrate while listening to her teacher speed-read the cards.
Arnold: He wouldn’t sit still. Period.
- Instant Memorisation – This training uses numbers. Weekly, the teacher will flash a set of 3 numbers, than 5 numbers to the child and they are supposed to memorise the numbers and write them on their paper.
Sonia: At this stage, she is unable to recognise all the numbers, so she needed my help on this. I will hold her hands and write the numbers, concurrently asking her to recite the numbers after me. But it was through this activity that she started recognising the numbers.
- Dot Programme – The teacher flashes very quickly big cards with dots in sequence and on a more advance level, answers to complex mathematical equations in dots. They use dots to introduce a visual concept of quantity and sequencing. After a few cycles of looking at the dots, the child will be able to understand quantity (for examples, 8 dots is more than 7, 100 dots is more than 50, and so on). And I felt that it is more meaningful than flashing cards with just digits (for example, 1, 2, 3) which are merely meaningless symbols to child at this age.
Sonia: She would listen attentively. By now, she understands quantity but grasping the whole concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is a challenge. Too advance for a three year old, I thought. But no harm exposing her to these early.
Arnold: Too early to tell if he understands but again, no harm exposing him to numbers early.
- Dot Bar – Heguru complement the Dot Programme with Dot Bar. They use grids and dots like below to introduce concepts like addition and subtraction.
Sonia: For now, she’s picking the concept of simple additions. The teachers are working with the numbers 1 to 5.
Arnold: The teachers are working with the numbers 1 to 3. But all he really wants is to walk to the whiteboard and grab the dots.
- Nummer Kaisten – They use ping pong balls in a box which is partially divided in the middle to teach them numbers. After placing 10 balls on one side of the box, the teacher will cover the box and shake it (so some balls can roll onto the other side of the box). She will then open one side of the box and ask the students to count the number of balls in it. If there are 3 balls on this side of the box, how many balls will there be on the other side? The students will then need to do some mental calculation (10 – 3 = 7 balls).
Sonia: Her class works with 10 balls.
Arnold: His class works with 5 balls.
None of them could do mental calculation yet.
- Right Brain Intuition Game – ESP clairvoyance games. It is usually done using pictures – guessing the hidden item, shape, etc. Good if you guess correctly. To me, it’s a game of luck.
Sonia: She enjoys guessing and feels good about it if she guesses correctly.
Arnold: Randomly choose something. Sometimes, he gets it right, other times wrong, and he’s happy either way. This boy will give himself a clap no matter the outcome. Haha…
- Singing and Dancing
Sonia: Prefer singing than dancing. She’s a little shy lah~ I could tell that she wanted to dance along but was too shy (she would pull my hands to hold hers and want me to dance with her).
Arnold: Totally enjoy every bit of it!
- Mandala – A picture is shown on the screen for a few seconds and the child needs to colour and draw the same object as show on the screen.
Sonia: They use three to four colours and Sonia usually identifies at least 2 colours correctly. Drawing the object out is a challenge.
Arnold: Just doodle on the sheet.
- Counting – Teacher throws a handful of paper clips on the floor and covers them. Students are asked to guess the total number of paper clips.
Sonia: Her guesses are quite close to the correct answer.
Arnold: They don’t do these in class.
- Iroita and Tangram – The students need to find the right shapes to fit the patterns on the worksheet. It is similar to doing a puzzle.
Sonia: She loves doing Iroita and Tangram and enjoys doing all kind of puzzles.
Arnold: Merely plays with the shapes and attempts to eat them. Sigh… It will take a while, I guess. After all, he’s only one.
There are many more activities such as “introducing the day, date, time and temperature”, reading the Proverb of the day, reciting Chinese poem, morale education, telling imaginary story with the lights dimmed, peg memory, tangram, etc. And all of these are meant to train the right brain at an early age. It is quite unbelievable to think that the teacher can squeeze all of the above activities in an hour but they did, in rocket speed. Everything is done so quickly!
In fact, with a little bit of creativity, a lot of these activities can be replicated at home. I’ll be sharing some of the things I do at home with the kids next week.
If you are already thinking of enrolling your child for Heguru classes, request to attend an orientation programme. I did, and it helped me to better understand the programme so I wasn’t too startled on the first lesson (because the pace of the class was extremely fast and energy level was amazingly high throughout the entire hour).
You can find out more about the programme on their website, click here.
I hope this will give you a better picture of what the kids are doing at Heguru!