Shichida vs. Heguru: A Comprehensive Comparison of Early Learning Methods

Early childhood education plays a crucial role in a child’s development, setting the foundation for future learning and growth. Among the prominent methods in this field are the Shichida Method and the Heguru Method, both of which focus on holistic brain development. This article investigates the key differences and similarities between these two methodologies, helping parents make informed decisions.

The Shichida Method

Photo Credit: Shichida Australia. A memory game is being played in a Shichida Australia class.

Background and Philosophy

The Shichida Method, founded by Professor Makoto Shichida in 1958, is based on over 60 years of research into early childhood brain development. The method emphasizes whole-brain training, engaging both the right and left hemispheres to enhance creativity, intuition, memory and logical thinking. The philosophy behind Shichida is that every child is born with immense potential that can be harnessed through appropriate stimulation and nurturing from an early age.

Key Components

  1. Right-Brain Training: Activities like flashcards, speed reading, and memory games are designed to stimulate the right hemisphere, responsible for creativity, intuition, and photographic memory.
  2. Left-Brain Training: Logical thinking and language skills are developed through activities such as puzzles, phonics exercises, and math games.
  3. Memory Development: Techniques such as memory linking and rapid image flashing help improve photographic memory and recall abilities.
  4. Emotional Development: The method stresses the importance of emotional bonding and positive reinforcement to build a child’s confidence and motivation.
  5. Parental Involvement: Parents play a crucial role in the Shichida Method, participating in activities and fostering a nurturing environment at home.

Benefits

  • Enhanced memory and concentration.
  • Improved problem-solving skills.
  • Balanced development of both brain hemispheres.
  • Strong emotional intelligence and social skills.
  • Boosted confidence and motivation.

Heguru Method

Photo Credit: Heguru Method Right Brain Training, The Asian Parent Singapore.

Background and Philosophy

The Heguru Method, developed by Hirotada and Ruiko Henmi in the 1980s, focuses primarily on right-brain development. This method draws on the Henmis’ extensive research and experience in education, aiming to harness the natural abilities of the right brain before they diminish as the child grows older. The Heguru Method emphasizes speed and efficiency in learning.

Key Components

  1. High-Speed Learning: Uses fast-paced activities such as flashcards and mental arithmetic to engage the right brain.
  2. Visualization Techniques: Children are taught to visualize and recall images quickly, enhancing photographic memory.
  3. Holistic Approach: Combines right-brain training with physical exercises and moral education to develop well-rounded individuals.
  4. Structured Curriculum: A highly structured and consistent curriculum is followed to ensure comprehensive brain development.

Benefits

  • Accelerated learning capabilities.
  • Strong photographic memory.
  • Enhanced creativity and imagination.
  • Well-rounded cognitive and moral development.

Comparing Shichida and Heguru

Philosophical Approach

  • Shichida: Emphasizes balanced development of both brain hemispheres and incorporates emotional and social growth through parental involvement.
  • Heguru: Focuses primarily on maximizing right-brain potential before it diminishes, with an emphasis on high-speed learning and visualization.

Curriculum Structure

  • Shichida: Flexible and adaptive to the child’s pace, involving a variety of activities to stimulate different areas of development.
  • Heguru: Highly structured with a rigorous schedule of activities designed to challenge and stimulate the right brain consistently.

Parental Involvement

  • Shichida: Parents are deeply involved in the learning process, creating a supportive and nurturing environment.
  • Heguru: While parental support is encouraged, the method relies more on the structured classroom environment and teacher-led activities.

Learning Environment

  • Shichida: Learning takes place both at home and in centres, fostering a holistic educational experience.
  • Heguru: Primarily centre-based, with a focus on the classroom setting to maintain the pace and structure of the curriculum.

In-Depth Look: Core Techniques

Right-Brain Stimulation

  • Shichida: Uses flashcards with rapid image flashing and memory linking to boost photographic memory. Activities such as deep breathing, visualisation and engaging in imaginative play are also emphasized to stimulate creativity and intuition.
  • Heguru: Employs high-speed flashcards, mental arithmetic, and visualization exercises to train the right brain. These activities are designed to enhance speed, memory, and cognitive processing.

Memory Development

  • Shichida: Memory training is a key component, with techniques aimed at enhancing both short-term and long-term memory. Children engage in activities that involve rapid image recall, linking stories to images, and using mnemonic devices.
  • Heguru: Focuses on developing a strong photographic memory through visualization and recall exercises. The high-speed nature of the activities is intended to improve memory retention and recall efficiency.

Emotional and Social Growth

  • Shichida: Places significant emphasis on emotional development and social skills. Activities are designed to build confidence, empathy, and communication skills. The involvement of parents in the learning process also helps reinforce emotional bonds and support.
  • Heguru: While emotional and social development is addressed, the primary focus remains on cognitive skills and right-brain training. The structured environment provides opportunities for social interaction, but it is not as central as in the Shichida Method.

Practical Applications for Parents

Shichida Method at Home

Parents looking to implement the Shichida Method at home can engage in various activities that promote right-brain stimulation and emotional bonding.

  • Flashcard Sessions: Conduct regular sessions using a variety of flashcards to stimulate visual memory and stimulate the whole brain connection.
  • Memory Games: Play memory games that involve recalling sequences or placement of images or numbers.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use praise and encouragement for effort to build your child’s confidence and motivation.
  • Interactive Play: Engage in pretend play and storytelling to enhance creativity and social skills.
  • Deep Breathing Exercises: Show your child how to do relaxing deep breathing exercises. This helps with focus and calming down when feeling overwhelmed. Deep breathing can be practiced through simple techniques such as inhaling deeply through the nose, holding the breath for a few seconds, and exhaling slowly through the mouth.
  • Educational Songs: Incorporate educational songs at home during playtime to enhance the understanding of key skills. Songs that teach numbers, letters, colors, and other concepts can be both fun and educational, making learning an enjoyable part of everyday activities.

Heguru Method at Home

For parents interested in the Heguru Method, consistency and structure are key:

  • High-Speed Flashcards: Incorporate high-speed flashcard sessions to improve cognitive speed and memory.
  • Visualization Exercises: Practice visualization techniques by asking your child to recall and describe images in detail.
  • Structured Learning: Maintain a structured learning environment at home, following a consistent schedule for activities.
  • Physical Activities: Include physical exercises that complement mental training, such as balance and coordination games.

Accessibility of Programs

SHICHIDA at Home

For parents who cannot access Shichida classes in person, the Shichida Method offers an educational platform that can be used at home called SHICHIDA at Home. This online program provides videos, songs, printable workbooks, and parental guides.

Photo Credit: SHICHIDA at Home. A parent and child watching an episode of SHICHIDA at Home together.

Heguru

The Heguru Method is primarily centre-based, with a strong focus on in-person classes. As of now, Heguru does not offer an extensive online platform or app for remote learning, making it less accessible for families who cannot attend classes at a Heguru centre.

 

What is best: Shichida or Heguru?

Both the Shichida and Heguru methods offer unique and effective approaches to early childhood education, focusing on harnessing the brain’s potential during its most formative years.

  • Shichida is ideal for parents seeking a balanced approach that includes cognitive, emotional and social development, with a significant emphasis on parental involvement.
  • Heguru suits those looking for a rigorous, structured program that emphasizes rapid cognitive development and photographic memory.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on the individual needs and learning style of the child, as well as the parents’ involvement and educational philosophy. By understanding the core principles and benefits of each method, parents can make a well-informed decision to support their child’s early develop

SHICHIDA at Home provides many activities designed to help develop your child’s cognitive abilities. Try your FREE TRIAL today!

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