Keeping Busy, Part II

In my previous blog, Music Class, I explained what motivated us to begin a number of toddler classes over the last eighteen months, now that the boys were a year and half. I spoke about the first one, a toddler music class, and the positive experience we had.

This blog post will be a little different.

In the last blog, I alluded to the fact that there are reasonable expectations for the capability of eighteen-month-old children that most people understand. And that brings me to the discussion of toddler Japanese right brain training classes, or at least the one we tried.

Most classes we have tried fall into the range of $10 to $20 per week per child, depending on materials. (This range takes into account twin discounts, which vary from 50% - 80% for the second child). Japanese right brain training cost us $70 per week per child, which would have been fine if the class had gone well.

It didn't.

To paint a picture, I will explain the teacher's expectations of the children in the class. The children come in, each with an adult. They sit on their adult’s lap in an assigned point in a semi-circle. They then silently watch a teacher, who uses high-speed flash cards to present information to them so quickly that they are meant to absorb it on a subconscious level. Sometimes the teacher also lays out a number of toys and quickly comments about how many are there. About halfway through the class, the children get up (for the first time) and go outside for about two minutes of movement. Then they return to the class and once again sit still for the rest of the hour. At the end, they get a sticker.

Now, there are some eighteen-month-olds who can do this. Carl, in fact, did a fair job of sitting and watching what was going on. Considering the troubles he was having with social anxiety in other classes at the time, I think he was actually happy that the adults were all sitting still.

Nolan. Well, Nolan thought that maybe moving around the room would be fun. He also thought it might be fun to interact with the cards and the toys shown to him. As a result, I spent most weeks holding Nolan back while he screamed and threw tantrums.

There was one class where Nolan was being fairly good. He decided to sit in front of me. Maybe so he could see better, or maybe so he could feel like he had some agency.

The teacher stopped the class to ask Nolan to sit back on my lap.

Needless to say, unlike the music class (which we have now been doing for eighteen months), Japanese right brain training stopped after 10 weeks. And what I learned is that you should always do a trial class so you know what you are getting yourself into and that you don't always get what you pay for.

Posted by Grant Evans

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