How beneficial are speed math, brain gym, abacus?
Once upon a time, there was a happy world for children with just school to go to, and the streets to play in after school. Formal learning ended at school, period. Today, kids too are ensnared in the rat race. All parents want their kids to be super-achievers and put them through abacus, speed math, vedic math, mental math, brain gyms, and whatever else. With so much on offer, parents are racking their brains trying to decide the right enhancement course for their kids. Consider the many abacus programmes. The premise is, during the mental arithmetic computation stage in abacus, the child uses both his left and right brain. “This gets the whole brain working at a great speed and activates the brain cells such that all the brain faculties would be at high performance levels,” claims Basheer Ahmed, CMD, UCMAS.
“The abacus harnesses a different set of brain cells to achieve the same function — it uses visual ability to achieve mathematic function,” agrees Prof. E.S. Krishnamoorthy, Director, Institute of Neurological Sciences. “By learning any new skill, a child stocks up on his cognitive reserve, which is great for mental health,” he adds.
But while cognitive ability can be enhanced by programmes, one should not go overboard. “Parents need to make a balanced decision,” insists Dr. Krishnamoorthy. So, watch how your child reacts to a programme, and do not overload a child. And remember, children don’t learn from formal classes alone. “A lot of informal learning happens through social interaction and just hanging out with friends,” says Dr. Krishnamoorthy. For normal and healthy emotional development, this is absolutely crucial. So, do not sacrifice your kid’s playtime. Playtime is precious too.
Childhood is precious. By all means, help kids build their future. But, let‘s not tie it up totally in packages. Let’s not give the child a military schedule. Let us leave stress out of childhood at least.HEMA VIJAY