Smart babies, a very fascinating thought a parent could have probably wish his/her child could be. Who would not want to see their child learn faster than anyone else his age or watch him play violin at a very young age? Obviously there’s none, but the question is how? Is there really a way, a technique or a formula maybe to be able to create a genius out of every child? As I watched the documentary film entitled “Smart Babies? ” I began to realize some points on child’s brain development and it helped me clear these questions that bugs in my head.
The film analyzed the validity of techniques to nurture a child’s brain development. The hot housing technique promoted by Glenn Doman of Better Baby Institute (now called as the Institute for Achievement of Human Potential) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was examined and criticized in particular. The technique involve the use of materials, such as flash cards, pictures and classical music CD’s, which promised to help stimulate the child’s brain in a faster pace, when used in a regular basis. The institute justifies this method based on some claims.
According to them, there are these so-called crucial years in a child’s development, which occurs from birth to six, that needed to be taken advantage of. Stimulation of the child’s brain, especially during these years, will make the brain more complex to absorb greater amounts of knowledge and will make the child more likely to learn more skills. They also argue to provide kids with enriched environment which they believe to have a great effect in the child’s development. Eager to learn more about this idea, I personally researched on some articles and opinions about this particular topic.
According to Bainbridge (2011): “Hot-house children are children whose parents push them into learning more quickly and earlier than is appropriate for the cognitive age of the children. …These parents provide every type of enrichment they can for their child, beginning in infancy. They play classical music for their infants, and may even use flashcards to prepare their infant for reading and math. When their children become toddlers, the real lessons on reading and math begin, using either flashcards or other methods of instruction.
Getting this idea, I suddenly jumped into conclusion that being a hothouse child isn’t that fun. You’re like being pushed in a jail of brain stimulating stuffs and some pressure forcing to do your best studying these things your parents want you to gain knowledge of, unknowingly removing you from what is supposed to be a childhood of play, fun and experience. Although there are benefits that can be obtained from this and though teaching kids to become intellectuals is a worthy objective, parent should always know the limitations and capacity of their own child.
They should know how much of these activities are too much. Concerning the method of showing the children the flash cards then making them recite what’s written on them, cannot conclude that they can already read a word. Memorization and being used to the routine is the sole reason I could think of on why children can seem to read the words on the cards. They’re not reading the word; they are just merely memorizing the look or the structure of the word and familiarizing their sounds as the teacher pronounce it.
Although this result is somewhat a good thing, it can cause the kids to fix their knowledge on those words alone. I personally agree on the concept of exposing the child to classical music especially during the critical years where his brain develops. This takes place as early as he develops his sense of hearing inside his mother’s womb. Some researches and experiments have proven this as an effective way of stimulating the child’s brain. According to an article published in time magazine written by Peter Gumbel, “By far the most widespread — and most disputed — recent claim is that Mozart can enhance your brain power.
That notion was first given scientific support in a 1993 article in Nature, which found that college students who listened to the first movement of Mozart's Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos performed better on a spatial reasoning test that involved mentally unfolding a piece of paper. The study's main author, Frances Rauscher, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin who is also a cellist, went on to do a similar test using laboratory rats. They were exposed to the same piano sonata in utero and for two months after birth, and then let loose in a maze.
There they navigated their way out far quicker than three other groups of rats, which had been exposed to white noise, silence or a highly repetitive piece by American composer Philip Glass. ” In addition to this, based on my own experience, listening to such music makes me feel at ease and calm, therefore enabling me to think clearer in everything I do. As the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights considers play an essential component of optimal child development such that the opportunity for free play has been declared a human right, the ot-housed children couldn’t seem to enjoy this right since their time allotted for this is occupied by tight activity schedules.
In my opinion, instead of insisting on their children these activities for optimal development, which are not even appropriate for their very young age, parents should understand what their children really needs. The need to feel safe, the need to know that they are special, the need to have a balanced experience of freedom and limits, and all this needs can be met by providing a healthy, loving, safe, and emotionally balanced home environment.
The children are supposed to live happily exploring this complicated yet wonderful world of ours with their own bare senses, discover knowledge and lessons in life with their mom and dad beside them guiding them—not forcing them, and experiencing the fun of learning new things far away from those flash cards, videos and CD’s that try to imprison them. I learned while doing this paper that there is no need to rush things up. There is always a right time for everything. Development is a nonstop process, it doesn’t end at the age of six or what; it goes on as long as one is open to endless possibilities and opportunities.
Super babies or genius babies are indeed amazing, but we don’t need force the children to be someone or something we want them to be, just because we want to feel that sense of pride among ourselves for having a smart child, because we might just been unconsciously destroying what we planned to be the best future for them. What we must do is to understand them, to support them and to give them the utmost love and care they need as they evolve into someone that will eventually make us proud.