This is the post that many of you have asked for. I've refrained, thus far, from writing it because I know that the point of a comparison is the question, "Which school is better?". Yet a verdict of which school is better cannot hold true for all purposes because, although both programmes deliver whole-brain training, they do differ. It is like comparing two children borne of the same parents (which is the reason for the photos of my two children in this post!).

Remember that these are my personal views and these views are not official representations of either of the schools.

Ok, let's start. To reduce it to a general statement, the Shichida method regards the students, first and foremost, as children. In contrast, Heguru is more focused on the children as students. So, the Shichida method is mostly about what happens outside of the class, while Heguru is mostly about what happens during the class.


The Shichida method emphasises that, before any right brain training can be done, the child must feel that he/she is loved and this is the parents' task. The child's mind can only be unlocked if there is a strong bond and a loving relationship between the parent and the child. Shichida advocates the parent as his/her child's best teacher.

This translates to the following features:
  • All the class activities, right-brain and left-brain, can be reproduced at home. The parent is taught how to conduct activities at home (termed "home practice"). There are also additional right-brain activities, which are not done in class, but which you are encouraged to do with your child at home, like the math dots program. 
  • There is ready-made material which parents can buy for home activities.
  • The pace of the class is a little slower compared to Heguru, as most of the activities are carried out at a pace which parents can replicate at home.
  • There are more hands-on activities, which is a better format for parent and child bonding.
  • One parent accompanies the child in class throughout the entire programme (i.e from 0-6  years old).

In Heguru, due acknowledgment is given to the relationship between the parent and the child. However, the parents are not the primary conduits of the right-brain training. The founders of Heguru are teachers and, from what I can see, they believe that, while parenting should be done by parents, teaching should be done by teachers.

This leads to the following:
  • Most of the right-brain activities in class are not easily replicated at home, and are not meant to be. The school takes on the responsibility of providing intense stimulation to the right brain during the class and the parents are not expected to do extra right-brain training at home. Nevertheless, at the end of each class, the teacher will give the parents a few tips on how to reinforce the class learning at home (this usually pertains to left brain stuff). 
  • There is less ready-made material for parents to purchase for use at home.
  • The pace of the class is extremely fast. Two teachers (one head teacher and one assistant) work together to provide a seamless transition from one activity to another so that the stimulation to the right brain is continuous and intense.
  • There are less hands-on activities, as such activities slow down the pace of the class.
  • The pre-school class (for 4-6 years old) is a drop-off programme (ie. not parent-accompanied).




It is critical to bear in mind that things are not black and white. The Shichida method is not all about home practice - attending the class is important and beneficial for many reasons. Heguru is not all about the classroom activities - there are some activities which you are supposed to practise at home, like mandala and peg memory, and the teachers do show the parents how they can continue working with their child at home. Both programmes have due regard for good parenting, and both programmes train their teachers well in order to deliver a stimulating class. 



There is one more distinguishing feature which is, Heguru says that a child who commences their training with the programme at an early age can develop the ability to do "Hado reading" which is the technique of reading a book and understanding its contents just by turning over its pages. A child who can achieve this ability would also have developed considerable right brain skills to be able to learn and memorise other things quickly.

Shichida has a similar technique called "wave reading" but this is not given a lot of emphasis in Shichida. Shichida maintains that it concentrates on whole-brain education to build up a strong desire in a child to contribute his/her best to the world and that "the purpose of education is not to teach knowledge and skills but to create a well-balanced child with enormous abilities, rich creativity and the ability to use a huge proportion of the brain".



There are other differences which I have not addressed in this post. For example: activities such as mandala and peg memory are introduced in Shichida at 4 years old, whereas they are introduced in Heguru from the beginning. Another example: there is a segment in Heguru for the children to dance and do physical activities, whereas Shichida does not have the same. These are not critical differences, I feel.

In conclusion, I can only say this - choose the programme that suits you and your child better. Don't just look at the results that you want to achieve, look at what the programme involves because the results can only be achieved if you and your child can stick with the programme long-term. 

Let me know which school you choose and why!

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post.
Can you tell us what kind of activities that Heguru has at the beginning of the class? is there any thing like energy ball and breathing exercise?

thank you!

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hello, I assume you are referring to the energy ball and breathing exercises which are done in Shichida? The point of such exercises is to relax the child and put the child in a positive mood (you can read more in this post http://bubble-belly.blogspot.sg/2011/09/notes-on-shichida-part-10-pre-lessons.html). In Heguru, there are also steps taken to achieve the same aim, including deep breathing exercises and making positive and encouraging statements to the child. You might like to check with the centre directly for more details on this.

Sandra Theng said...

Hi Pinkie Pirate,

My son 16th mth old is currently in Shichida. First term was pretty good although out teacher was new and inexprience, nonetheless i think she did well and we all enjoyed her class.

However this term, we were assign a new teacher again (fresh from training). To be honest, i was somewhat unhappy as i felt that my son's class has been made like a training ground for new teachers. to make matter worse, she is not up to par.(i can flash card faster than she does)

I am seriously considering to switch my child to Heguru at fusionopolies.

I am curious. If you have a third child, which school will place him or her and why?

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Sandra, as mentioned in my post, which school you choose should depend on you and your child. So if I have a third child, I will have to see what suits the child best.
From your comments and questions, I can see that you have a different perspective from me when it comes to right-brain training. :) Anyway, happy learning to you and your child, whichever school you choose!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra,which Shicida centre did you go to?

Cynefrid said...

Hi Pinkie,

This is a great post on the fundamental differences between the 2 methods. But back to your comment to Sandra, you mention that if you have a third child, you will see what suits the child best. Curious to know what's your opinion on which method will suit best for what kind of child?

Pinkie Pirate said...

Cynefrid, I don't think that there is a clean and tidy answer to your question, simply because children are not so easily labelled or classified as this type or that type, and they should not be. I would consider it from child to child and from stage to stage.

Anonymous said...

Hello there, thank you for such an informative post, I am glad I found your site prior to selecting the Shichida method for our daughter, she starts in October. Would appreciate your answers to 2 quick questions:

1) From what you know, is there a recommended age at which to start the Shichida programme? I've heard people say that the programme is particularly effective from 6 months to 3 years, but is there really some benefit from sending the child to the programme at 3 months as opposed to, say, 9 or 10 months?

2) Are there any particular sites you would recommend for getting material for the home-based learning portion, such as flash cards, picture cards, etc.

Thanks alot for your time! :)

Lydia

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Lydia, to answer your first question, I don't think that a 3 month old would benefit from the 75 minute weekly class. In fact, I would even say that, at 9-10 months old, it isn't very beneficial either. As for your second question, I'm afraid I can't be of much help as I don't buy materials online. You can join the Shichida mummies group on FB (there are a couple) and get info on materials from there.

ET said...

Hi there,

I have been reading your blog for some years now .... since before I had my little girl! I've been amazed always at the effort and passion you put into ensuring your children have a well rounded childhood.

Now, I never wanted to be a kiasu parent. I really don't think I am... but I recently started exploring right brain creativity theories and my husband says I have gone nuts. So, I thought I would turn to you with three questions. I hope that you don't mind.

1. Do you think right brain creativity programmes are essential for young children? Would you risk not doing it if you were to have another child?

2.Of the right brain options available in Singapore, Heguru and Shichida appear the most advanced, and perhaps have some (scant) scientific rigour. I know you say that each appeals to different personality types. But, just theoretically say in an extreme case that you lived next door to a Heguru school but your child was the type that would learn best at Shichida and it was 40 min drive away. Would you ever say distance should be a factor in the decision? (As in, the methods are so similar that it wouldn't be an opportunity lost to choose the closer option)

3. Finally, do you have a sense for how different the centres / teachers are around the island? And would this impact the learning experience? I know each centre is supposed to be accredited from Japan and o a standard level, but I'm interested to know from an insider perspective.

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hello ET! It's so wonderful to know that you've been with us for so long! You've raised a number of good questions - perhaps you'd like to email me at pinkiepirate@live.com ? I can better/fully respond to you through email.

Anonymous said...

Im interested to know the answer to qn 1. Thank you

watermelon said...

hi

first of all, thanks so much for this much needed information.

ive enrolled my son in shichida class n will be starting this friday. looking forward to this.

ive a question to ask, ive a 10 months old with me to the class too, how would people manage?

thanks
sandy

Pinkie Pirate said...

Hi Sandy, are you talking about bringing two children into class, as in 1 adult with two kids? I don't think that's a good idea, neither do I think that's allowed, actually. You will need to give your full attention to the child who is supposed to be in class. Parents are quite hands on, especially in the younger classes and especially for newcomers. I can't tell you how would people manage because in my five years at Shichida, I've not seen it happen in my class. You may want to check with the school to see if it's allowed.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pinkie Pirate,

I came across your blog while searching for information on Heguru classes. I've read through the entire thread of comments and am keen to know your comments and feedback on ET's three questions. Could you share that over here for everyones benefit?

Thanks!
Dazed& confused aka D&C

Mylittle Genius said...

Awesome post! Thanks for sharing this valuable & informative information. I must say that you have done a commendable job with it! Keep it up!!
Child Brain Development | Brain Development In Early Childhood

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