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Childhood concerns

From voicing concern over the rising incidents of violence exhibited by American children to extolling Indian children as well behaved and nice, senior editor of `Highlights for Children' Dr. Christine San Jose identified early learning lessons, as the chief cause amongst others.

BEYOND ABC: Noted educationist and eminent academician, Dr. Christine San Jose.

"OUT OF my 70 years of association with children, I have found Indian children to be the most well-behaved and nicest of all," stated noted educationist and eminent academician, Dr. Christine San Jose. "Maybe it's the magical mystique of India that works on them or the childhood lessons learnt from parents," the specialist in children literature, wondered.

Dr Jose currently holding the post of senior editor of Highlights for Children - the largest circulated children's magazine in the world, was here in the city Saturday last for the launch of the Early Learning Programme, by Lotus Learning. (Ph no: 3413713, 6613982) The programme promises to develop the multiple intelligence levels in a child to prepare him for successful schooling.

"I am appalled by the plight of children languishing in poverty in India and Nepal. Childhood here is not as rosy as in upstate America, yet children here are the nicest in the world," she said.

"Children are greatly regarded in America. Childhood is a paradise, where children have access to all forms of entertainment with parents striving hard to satiate all their demands and needs. The little ones are very open and honest," Christine added.

Expressing concern over the rising incidents of violence exhibited by American children, she attributed the occurrences to the pervasive availability of guns and the predictable influence of the television, where gore and blood is replete.

"There are other deep-rooted reasons, from bad early learning experiences to broken families, amongst others which we are looking into," she said.

"Children literature and movies or serials should be toned down to a considerable extent to arrest such incidents. There are nicer things to be published and better programmes to be telecast for children, to infuse values in them right from the formative years," she explained.

A former teacher at the elementary, secondary and college levels in England, Spain and United States, Christine, with her doctoral degree in `Early Learning' from the University of Syracuse, has made all possible attempts to see that violence in any form does not seep in the pages of her magazine - Highlights for Children. "We attempt to give children fun with a purpose in the form of the Mag, which focuses fundamentally on instilling human values and honesty in children," the senior editor said.

Christine has written several professional articles and books about children's use of language, children's literature, apart from developing two home-study series on reading and writing; she has even created a preschool series of picture books and tapes, called The Joinables. She has retold several classic literary tales, in the form of easy and lucid literature for children that have become masterpieces.

With decades of experience to her hat, she has helped Lotus Learning develop the Early Learning Programme for pre-primary and primary school children in India to introduce, develop and reinforce skills essential for success in school.

"Years of research has gone into evolving the effective programme to develop multiple intelligence in a child, right from the year he learns to talk," Christine said.

Seconding her Lotus Learning managing director S. Krishnan said, "There are two programmes in the Early Learning series - `Getting ready for school' programme constituting six parts with 124 components and `Primary Plus' programme comprising eight parts with 59 volumes and three CD- ROMs - which are proven techniques to reinforce about 154 skills in children essential to develop brainpower in them."

Emphasizing that there is more than mere ABC for children to learn before they step into school, Christine expressed hope that the programme would be extremely helpful for Indian children, who are already rich in core values.

"I am concerned of children around the world. They should imbibe the core values universally and be good to one another. We are one people on this planet."


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