Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Right Brain: Tweedlewink. Is it worth it?

Tweedlewink is a right/whole brain training programme founded by Pamela Hickein (A trained Montessori teacher from the US) for ages 3 months to 6 years old. Then, they will graduate to the Wink Program. You can read more about the programme here.

If you have no idea what is right brain learning, read my post on it here.

This post is my personal opinion and experience with Tweedlewink, Malaysia. Tiger is 15 months old.

Little Tiger has been attending Tweedlewink from the time he was 9 months old. That means we have been attending classes for about 6 months now. Tiger was the youngest student then, but now there is a three month old student! That means I am not very kiasu, ahem. Also, It is a bit nuts to attend at 3 months because they cannot see that well until they are 6 months old. Well, unless you want to do it the auditory way, then , by all means.

Since then, our class has settled into a nice rhythm with two classmates, T (one month older) and E (5 months older). They are both VERY well behaved and I hope Tiger will learn from them. He is the most active and umm, naughty mischievous out of the three.

The management was very nice when I requested to maintain the class at three students only. We had another older child (almost 2) who joined us but he was sooooo disruptive that Tiger couldn't concentrate. I requested to change Tiger's class and luckily, T and E decided to join us :) We got a new time slot and all. I know that's a little mean but I am not paying RM 90 per class for noise making.

This is the scope of the lesson per class (1 hour):
1. I love you song (same song we sing at home)
    Visual eye play
2. Vocabulary booster: 2 different themes each lessons
3. World/Culture
4. Music/perfect pitch
5. Math: spots & skip counting
6. Reading: phonics & whole words
7. Science
8. Art
Thank you song.

It is quite hectic and packed but the children LOVE it. Whenever I ask Tiger, "Do you want to go Tweedlewink?" or "Do you want to see teacher?", he will always nod his head excitedly.

This is Tiger with his teacher.
He will always dance with the teacher and give her a hug at the end of the lesson :)
(He has the pacifier on because it was milk time and I wanted to take a picture)

Personally, I love it because I just 'steal' their weekly world, science and art ideas/theme. No need to crack my not-so-creative head and we get to practice/repeat the work done in class :)

As much as I believe the child's brain is like a sponge, there is no harm in repetition. I am not sure if it's just Tiger or Tweedlewink but his need/hunger to learn and 'study' is amazing. 

For example, after our class last Monday night, he wanted to do more work. It is quite obvious because he kept signing up and book, then he waved bye bye and blew kisses at grandma (This is routine). So we did a bit more schooling at home:

I presented the dice and can game to him.
Here, he threw the dice and it landed on three. 

I placed three hexagon pieces on the dice and counted them

He gets to insert them into the can via the slit.

Then, he requested for dinosaurs...
Here he helped the dinosaurs scratch each other's bellies.

He did more phonics work with the magnetic letters

He played with EVA foam letter I
 If he can't put it in, he will ask for help after 5 seconds
I NEVER help.
 He will attempt again everytime I say,"Try again, baby. You can do it."

Before we ended the session, he played with his continent map. I was singing the continent song halfway when he...

...ran to his Iran flag, I stopped singing and said, "Iran". Then he ran back to the continent map and I started singing again. This repeated a few times until I was breathless and collapsed with laughter. I hugged Tiger and smothered him with kisses. Then he waved goodbye to his room and held my hand as we went to bed happily.

What about Shichida or Heguru?

I can't give my opinion on Shichida or Heguru because I have not sent Tiger there. I am thinking about it :)
This is a sample of Shichida lesson plan if you are interested. You can read up on Shichida from the many books he has published, mostly in Chinese available from http://www.kids.net.my/ or http://www.ibaby.my/.

Will my child learn anything from the classes?
The real question should be, Will your child learn from school later on? Getting As in our school system is equivalent to the ability to regurgitate facts, not learning. Every child learns differently at a different rate via different methods. The schooling system is designed for children to conform, not to question or be creative. In my humble opinion, I think, instilling the LOVE of learning and the thirst for knowledge is the most important and that's what I am trying to achieve here with Little Tiger.

We stopped attending after 1 year 3 months because the lessons are cyclical, meaning they 'recycle' the main topics with some minor variations. He was bored, I was bored. I have to thank Tweedlewink for introducing me to Montessori and phonics. I think I, myself developed a love of teaching from the classes and Tiger is still a phonics nut himself.

So, yes. I think it is worth it to send Tiger to Tweedlewink because I truly believe in right brain learning and I love the Montessori elements they  have incorporated into the classes. I have recommended the place to many people and no, they didn't give me any commission, I still think they should :p

We also attended Ditoso in Kota Kemuning for 6 months before I stopped all right brain classes. Reason being, I don't think my kiasu-ism in class is good for him. When you are paying RM100 per class, you can't help but want the kid to FOCUS and make your money worth it. When he poops or fuss during class, I find my patience and whatever alpha wave just dissipate. And that affects him. When we practise at home at his pace and schedule, he always gets everything right because we are both relaxed and feeling loved. My two cents la, ya?

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