“When I first found our partner institute in the US ten years ago and witnessed these amazing, happy and kind 3, 4, and 5 year olds, all of whom could read, do maths, talk about the great artists of the world, speak three languages, play the violin, do gymnastics and have a love of learning that I had never seen before, I knew that I had found something extraordinary,” says Tania Siddiqi, Director of Masterminds Nursery & Kindergarten.
But many questions continued to linger in my mind. Can young children really learn all this? Should they be learning this at such a young age? Are they happy or does this take away from their childhood? Perhaps the most important overarching question was: Why does my child really need all this?
It would take many years for me to find a conclusive answer to this question. During this time, I feel that I went through three stages of realization.
The first stage came when the institute explained to me what they had learnt over 60 years of working with children. I understood that 0 - 6 years is when the brain is developing at the most rapid rate, hence this is the most critical period of opportunity for a child’s intellectual, physical and social development.
I learnt that not only can young children learn anything, but that they are more adept to learn during the first 6 years of life than they will be at any other stage, and that what they learn at this age will stay with them for the rest of their life.
I learnt that the ability of a child is a product of stimulation and opportunity, not of a preset alarm clock or a predetermined genetic design, and that this stimulation should happen deliberately – not by accident. Most importantly, I saw that children would rather learn than do anything else - as long as the process is joyous and operates at the pace of the child. I witnessed the utter joy and pride these children felt at their accomplishments. And when they were not busy amazing the adults, they were outside being just well-rounded, fun-loving children.
The second stage of realization came when I took the programs home and started doing them with my daughter when she was almost two. I personally witnessed the extraordinary results of these programs over the years.
When my daughter turned 5, I signed her up for tennis lessons. She had done many activities before, gymnastics, swimming, violin and much more, but never tennis. When she started her first lesson, I stood in bewilderment as she started smashing the ball as if she had been playing tennis for years. The instructor could not believe that this was her first lesson.
In that moment, I realized that all the development and coordination that had resulted from her other physical and even intellectual and music programs was cascading into entirely new areas of skill. Since then, I have continued to see how her development in one area has influenced development in many other areas, including skills in activities that she had never done before, along with her confidence and social development.
All this should have been enough for any parent to strongly believe in our programs. But I still felt that there was a level of awareness that I had not reached yet. This level - for me the conclusive answer to why this is important for my child - has only just arrived. My daughter, now almost 11, inhales books many years ahead for her age. Not only does she read every kind of book she can get her hands on, from classics to biographies to stories, she fully comprehends what they are saying. She has a curiosity for life that sometimes even I struggle to satisfy. She has an extraordinary desire and love for learning – always looking for something new to learn, always eager to understand and answer any question that is asked. And for every small and big thing that she accomplishes, I just sit back and watch the wonderment, happiness and sheer joy in her face.
These days, I am talking to her about the principles of success and happiness from personal development coaches like Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma and Bob Proctor. Not only does she get it but easily accepts things that as an adult, I struggled to internalize with all my barriers. I can see that she will grow up with a far better understanding of what it takes to create a successful and happy life than many of us did. I can now see that the combination of her enhanced comprehension, tremendous curiosity and love of learning has created a virtuous cycle that will support her success and happiness throughout her life.
One universal truth that unites us all is that we want the very best for our children, to give them opportunities even far beyond what we had. We can never replace the value of life experiences but we can ensure that we equip our children to go through them with courage, confidence and wonderment. We can make sure that we equip them to go out in the world and create a life of all round success and happiness. That is what we wish for our daughter. And that is what we wish for your children. This is why we created Masterminds Nursery & Kindergarten and work hard every day to make this a reality.
Visit Masterminds.ae to find out more about the nursery
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