Right Brain Education: Shichida or Not Shichida? Which is the Best School?

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Some time back, there was a comment on my blog about the Shichida program in Malaysia and Singapore not being the same as the one in Japan. Naturally, it raised questions from other mothers who were sending their children to Shichida. One mother replied that based on what she had read from Shichida’s books and manuals, the lessons in Shichida (Malaysia) were all in keeping with what Shichida wrote so she couldn’t understand it. Unfortunately, we were not able to get any more information so we were all left in the dark.

While I was in Melbourne, I found out a little more about it and this is what I was told:

It is true that Shichida Malaysia and Shichida Singapore do not follow the Japanese program exactly because there are things that are done in their classes that are not available in the Shichida program in Australia. These additions to the Malaysian and Singaporean program were done to augmented the program to make it better. In what way, I don’t know. Is it really for the better? Again, I cannot answer because I have not attended a local Shichida class, nor have I attended an Australian Shichida class (or a Japanese Shichida class, for that matter) so I do not have a basis for comparison. Even if I had, all I would have is an opinion.

As to whether the information is correct – that there are differences in the Singaporean/Malaysian Shichida program – well it does make a lot of sense because the home practice materials available from Shichida Malaysia and Shichida Singapore are not available in Shichida Australia. Additionally, you cannot purchase them even if your child attends Shichida Australia – or so I was told.

Shichida has a policy that does not allow non-members from purchasing their products. The reason for this is because they do not want the materials to be used incorrectly.

I believe, as Makoto Shichida did, that right brain education has the power to change our world. A very wise friend once said to me, “I cannot change the world, but I can change the world around me.” Indeed, we may not be able to change the world, but we can change the world around us – through our children. By helping our children – the next generation – to realise their full potential, we can create ripples in the water that can be far reaching.

It is unfortunate that right brain schools are not available throughout the world. However, if we can make the information readily available, it will take us one step closer to realising Shichida’s dream. For isn’t that why he published his books so that others can read his methodology and use it? Although it may not be quite the same as being able to send our children to a right brain school, we can only aspire to do the best with can with what we have. So to all the parents who keep asking which is best – Shichida, Heguru, or TweedleWink – this is what I have to say:

Stop worrying about whether your child is in the “best” school. Ask yourself how your child is doing in the school that you have chosen for that is the ultimate test. We’re all individuals with different preferences and inclinations. What might work best for one person might not be the best for another. The polar differences between my two sons are all the testimony I require for the truth in this statement.

Also look to what you desire from the school and see whether they are being met. As parents, we also have different priorities. We want different things for our children, therefore how can we ask another parent if a school is “good”. When I wrote about International Schools, there were a lot of comments about which was good and which was not. Of course, there are certain aspects that everyone will agree is not ideal, for example, high staff turnover – no one wants their child to change teachers three times in one year.

Other aspects are not quite so black and white. For example, some parents complain that certain schools are too academic focussed and tended to neglect life skills, while other complained that a school does not emphasise enough on academics. Obviously these parents have different priorities and expectations from school. Clearly, they are unlikely to agree on which is the best school. Likewise, you will find that the parents who send their children to Shichida will believe that Shichida is the best right brain school. Those that send their children to TweedleWink will believe that TweedleWink is the best right brain school. And those that choose Heguru will believe that Heguru is the best right brain school. It is all a matter of perspective.

We should count ourselves lucky if we even have the choice to send our children for right brain education. If you aren’t able to send your child for right brain education and would like your child to develop his/her right brain, feel free to use the right brain activities and resources I have listed in this blog post (it has been updated to include links to new activities I have written about since I first wrote the original article).

Shichida, Heguru, Right Brain Education

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

13 thoughts on “Right Brain Education: Shichida or Not Shichida? Which is the Best School?

  1. Hi Shenli,

    Do you mind to share what taught in Australia but not been incorporated in Malaysia and Singapore and vice verse.

    Are you referring to Shichida’s method for young children from 0-6 or purely for children/adults ?

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    1. Hi FZ,

      I’ll need to ask my cousin for her contact. The mother who has had experience with both Melbourne and Malaysia Shichida is her friend. From what I understand, the Australian method is the same as the method in Japan. The Malaysian and Singaporean method is still the same but augmented. The local Shichida have added elements that “make it better”. So I guess what they’re saying that Shichida in Malaysia and Singapore is like Shichida plus plus.

      It is Shichida 0-6. I don’t know about the Shichida for older children/adults because that program doesn’t exist in Australia.

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  2. Hi Shen Li ,

    We hv just started Shichida class last month and though my daughter was a bit restless in the beginning, she has now come to enjoy the lessons very much. I bought the materials (mainly flashcards) from the centre. What I can say is the materials are pretty standard like those u can get elsewhere. In my opinion, the reason they don’t allow ‘outsiders’ to buy their materials is not to be secretive. I guess it’s more of wanting the parents to use the flashcards n other materials the right way i.e. by using their method. In another word, it’s also their marketing strategy to recruit more students. If ur child enjoys n learns well, that’s all that matters regardless of which school she goes to.

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    1. Hi SK,

      Glad to hear your daughter is enjoying the class. It is such a personal thing because I hear of children liking one school but not another and other children vice versa so we really need to follow our children.

      If I understand correctly, you weren’t told not to talk about it but you signed a form that says you won’t talk about it. I think a lot of parents don’t realise this because they don’t read the fine print. I know about it because I remember reading something vaguely about it when I went to check out the program. I was reminded of this clause when I tried to interview mothers for the Baby Talk magazine article. In the end, the editor had to call the school to get permission to get the parents’ quotes. I didn’t end up sending the children to Shichida because I couldn’t commit to the parents’ seminar. I had two kids at that point and my youngest was still nursing full time so it was hard to get someone to watch him while I attended the seminar. After that it seemed a moot point to chase down Shichida when the children were happy where they were, plus I really didn’t like the location in the city.

      When I was there, I remembered looking at the brochures and I saw that there were a lot of home materials you could buy (not just flash cards, actual games, linking memory, etc. stuff I have not seen available at the other two schools) and I asked if I could buy them and was told not unless my child is attending their classes. I realise that they may not want parents using the products incorrectly and then claiming the method doesn’t work.

      Anyway, at the end of the day, I think we are lucky in Malaysia to be spoilt for choice – not 1 but 3 excellent right brain schools. I write about right brain to share the information with parents who have no access to the schools in their countries. Personally, if I could not get my children to a right brain school, I think some at home practice would be better than nothing. I guess it would be the same frustration I feel when I cannot purchase US products for the children because of cross border restrictions.

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  3. Hi,

    Another point to add on; I have never been told by anyone not to discuss or show others the method used during the class. The only indication they being ‘secretive’ is non students are not eligible to purchase their products. I guess one really have to enroll in the school to know there’s actually nothing hush hush about it:)

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  4. More to add from a Shichida-method family: yes, the fine print on the enrollment form says parents aren’t allowed to share with media without the school’s permission. I think this is fair as parents may share incorrect information with media. Otherwise, we’re certainly allowed to share with other parents. That’s how Shichida got so much referred students?

    And yes, we’ve been told and I’ve read that parents need to be very careful about using materials from and outside the school, else the child’s brain may be “wired” incorrectly. After buying and using materials bought from the school, I’m better at selecting outside materials that are suitable for home practice.

    In Japan, it’s slightly different. Only Japanese, including non-Shichida students, can buy the school’s materials.

    Also, there’re several Chinese-translated books on the Shichida Method (original version by Prof Shichida) available easily online, in Singapore libraries and in bookstores. So the method isn’t that all secretive. After reading the books, I’d say the method in KL school follows the method closely. The English portion in Singapore and KL was developed and added by the local principal after she got the franchise rights from Japan.

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  5. Hi MieVee,

    My understanding was that Shichida parents weren’t allowed to share what goes on in the classes. Of course there will be word of mouth regarding how good the program is.

    Regarding the materials, there are home practice activities available in Shichida Malaysia and Singapore that they don’t sell in Shichida Australia – or Japan.

    I’ve read the English Shichida books and though they talk a lot about the method, I think it is difficult to understand if you have never attended a class and “seen” the activities being done. It was only by making parallels to the activities in Heguru classes that I was able to make sense of the activities described in Shichida’s books. Perhaps the Chinese books are clearer in their explanations of the methods.

    I don’t think that my cousin’s friend meant that the program in Malaysia and Singapore was different from Japan. Just that it was augmented and better. Like they took what they were taught from Japan and added to the program – obviously still in keeping with Shichida’s principles otherwise you would have noticed the deviation from the methodology outlined in his books.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to stir a hornets nest by writing this article. I just wanted to clarify something that came up some time back. You may have recalled a comment from a mother some time back about Shichida Malaysia not following the Shichida Japan program. I don’t think it is so much that the program has deviated from the original Shichida philosophy but that it has been added to in keeping with his philosophy. Because, as you yourself are very well-read on Shichida’s methodology and find that the local program follows his methods closely, it would seem to me that the misunderstanding relates to the added material that does not appear to be taught in Australia.

    I guess the take home message is – if you hear that Shichida malaysia and Singapore is different from the Shichida Japan program, well, it probably is, but not in a way that is of concern because it is still in keeping with Shichida’s methodology.

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  6. Hello MieVee- Hey, since you mentioned on home materials, wonder to ask if my flashcards on star constellation meet Shichida’s expectation ? Please advise. Cheers.

    Hello Shenli- I asked if it’s Shichida’s 0-6 or to older children because I read 2 books on right brain activities, the one that I mentioned a while ago with CDs, I guess mainly for older children to adult, cause the activities outlined in the books werent easily understood by younger children if the children were below 5 or so.

    While the other book is ISBN 978-5442-4255-4 : is more of a book on methodology or principles to follow for younger children from 0-6. Unfortunately it’s again in chinese. Cheers.

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    1. Hi FZ,

      Yeah, in fact, Yumiko Tobitani’s QSR methodology also has two programs. I know that Shichida has classes for up to 12 years old, but in Australia, they do not offer classes beyond 6 years old. I guess the activity focus for older children is different because they have more left brain input compared to younger children who are still largely in touch with their right brain.

      It is a pity that so many of Shichida’s books are in Chinese. I really wish I could read them… How nice if they could translate them!

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  7. Hi, am searching for a brain development class. anyone has experience or info about whole-brain development? found a centre Treasure Box that offers that. made sense to stimulate both brains at the same time.

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    1. Hi KL,

      I think it should be clarified that “right brain education” is a misnomer. A more fitting description is “whole brain education”. It earned the name right brain education because most traditional schooling methods tend to be very left brain centric. Right brain education aims to balance this unequal stimulation by focussing first on right brain development and then on both sides of the brain. So in essence, Heguru, Shichida and TweedleWink are actually whole brain education centers.

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  8. Hi FZ, your Star Constellations flashcards are suitable. I’ve gone through them with my boy. I’m not sure if he knows them well cos I don’t really test him. Just let him choose between 2 cards, but he can be inconsistent sometimes. Ha…

    Anyway, flashing the images at this age is more for activating the right brain.

    Generally, large and clear images that fill the page (usually A5).
    For items, have a white background behind it.
    More images than words in each flashcard session.

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