Never too young to start {Review of Heguru Education Centre Part III}

Posted by ~Summer~ on November 15, 2017

When I was told that kids as young as six months old can embark on a right brain training journey at Heguru Education Centre, I felt the same thing that most parents felt - skepticism. I mean, they can't read, write, listen to instructions or even sit up well yet, are you sure they can make it through an entire lesson? Most importantly, do they even benefit and learn anything from class?

Anyway, since I don't let my kids attend preschool until they turn three years old and I usually have ample time to spend with them every day, I thought I would let Asher give Heguru a try when he was 15 months old. After all, I've seen the progress in his sisters (read our previous review here) and it is recommended that you start from as young as possible before the child’s innate right brain abilities become dormant past the age of six.

So, he started attending the Infant and Toddler Course, which is parent accompanied, and I was thinking it would be a good chance to let him be exposed to right brain training, socialise with peers of his age and at the same time allow us to have some parent-and-child bonding through the class activities.

Asher begins his journey at Heguru Education Centre, thanks to Teacher Clarice and Teacher Jolene for their guidance

Infant and Toddler Course

For the Infant and Toddler Course, each lesson takes place for about 50 minutes and the ratio of teachers to students is capped at a maximum of 2 to 7. To get a good idea of the lesson content, you can read my review here where I divided the class activities into 12 broad categories and shared our feedback on each of them. Even though the lessons might be scaled down to suit the learning abilities of these tiny tots, the gist and objectives of the curriculum remain the same - it strives to unleash the full potential of the brain to help develop positive, confident children who have better memory and accelerated learning rates.

It's been over half a year since the boy started and coming from a mum whose three kids are all in the right brain training journey, I can only once again emphasize that if you are a parent, you shouldn't expect to see results in just a term or two. To see the positive effects of right brain training, it should be carried out continuously over an extended period of time, say in years, so as to let your child fully reap the benefits. This is especially so when it comes to the infants and toddlers because you will be unsure of whether they are hitting their milestones as a result of growing up or if the weekly classes have helped in some way. In many cases, it can be very challenging to pinpoint the exact areas where your child has improved as a result of of the lessons.

That said, I always remind myself that the topmost priority for me in deciding whether or not to pursue an enrichment class is - my child's happiness. He/she needs to show interest and be happy to go for class, be able to enjoy most, if not all of the activities, be enthusiastic to learn and return for the next lesson with a keen attitude. That has been my driving factor in determining what enrichment classes to try out, continue or put an end to for every of my children.

The good news is that all three of them are loving their classes at Heguru Education Centre and even if it means cutting their afternoon nap short, they have never dreaded the thought of needing to go for class. Yes, this applies even for the toddler who seems to have grown accustomed to the routine of having weekly lessons and he looks forward to it because there are so many things to learn and so many things to play too!

It's a little tough to be specific about his progress over the past half a year but I've narrowed it down to the below aspects because these are the areas where I've seen the most significant improvements.

1) Attention span

He might be the oldest kid in the class but his attention span was one of the shortest when we first started. He would begin to fidget after a while, start to lie on the floor or walk around the class, or just plainly show his boredom and start to dig into my bag for food or demand for me to nurse him. Yes, right in the middle of class! For instance, he tunes out whenever the flashcards come on and would start to look for other means to entertain himself - which means he stops paying attention altogether.

After all these months of training, he has a much longer attention span now and is able to focus on more of the activities. He fidgets less, walks around less, but sits down more and listens more. He still isn't really into flashcards and some of the more monotonous activites, but in the least, he doesn't disrupt the class and is able to concentrate for the bulk of the lesson, which is already a vast improvement in my view.

Focusing on the abacus as the teacher uses it to teach arithmetic concepts

Trying his best to listen to the teacher going through the stack of flashcards which takes place at intervals

2) Ability to follow instructions

Initially, he was not able to understand the teacher's instructions nor follow them well. A good instance was how he would be asked to choose one of the images during ESP training but he would always tap on both of them. This would go on umpteen times during a class and in fact, it went on for weeks even before he began to understand the concept. While this was hilarious at first because he would give that cheeky look when he tapped on both the left and right card, it went on lesson after lesson and I was wondering if he could ever understand what was required of him.

After a couple months of training, a routine to follow, peers to learn from as well as unwavering patience from the teachers, he is now able to choose a picture straightaway and use his fingers to tap on it so as to communicate it to the teacher. He is also able to understand instructions such as using two hands to return the materials to the teachers, passing his namecard, throwing the unwanted piece of his sticker into the rubbish bin after he is done and so on.

Learning to recognise pictures and match them to their names, in this case he is tasked to tap his finger on the "flower"

Training his extrasensory perception (ESP) by predicting which picture the teacher is going to choose afterwards

3) Problem solving

Puzzle solving is a big part of every Heguru class and even at his age, Asher is being exposed to puzzles like the Iroita and Tangram. These puzzles help to boost their intellectual development, analytical and problem-solving skills. I like that this is a hands-on learning experience and that the kids get to feel a sense of achievement every time they complete a puzzle.

I remember how Asher would pick out all the circles (they are his favourite shape) whenever we did the Iroita when he first started. He didn't really realise what shapes he needed to form or what pieces he needed, and basically he was in a world of his own just picking out all things round and holding them tightly in his hand. He has gone a long way from then and now, he is able to identify triangles and squares and while he still needs to work on his rectangles and semicircles, at least he is able to solve a part of the puzzle on his own before needing any assistance or prompting from me.

Working on his Iroita puzzle which is made up of basic shapes and consists of a few pieces joined together

Matching shapes and learning about the words triangle, rectangle, square and circle

Making use of the tangram pieces of solve a puzzle, which can be quite tricky for his age

4) Psychomotor development

Of the three kids, Asher has always been the most developed in his psychomotor skills. He can throw a ball, catch a ball and even dribble it before he turned two, which was more advanced than his sisters (not that we like to compare). It is easy to sense his enthusiasm in the motor skills activities during his Heguru class because he would always carry them out with energy and anticipation. Sometimes, he would even be dismayed when it was time to stop the activity and the teacher had to collect back the materials.

Over time, we have seen how his psychomotor skills improved even further and I am glad that he gets to work on his gross motor skills - for example catching a balloon or walking to a bin to drop a ball, and his fine motor skills - for example moulding clay, pulling strings or scooping small objects with a spoon at every Heguru lesson.

Let's feed the shark! Insert the pompoms into the shark's mouth one by one

Using a spoon and without touching it, transfer the pompoms from cup to bowl

5) Language and social skills

He may be the most advanced in psychomotor skills among the three but he is also the least advanced in terms of vocal and language development. Many people tell me that this is common for boys as they tend to learn to speak at a later age than girls. Even if I wasn't particularly concerned since I understand that every child develops at his/her own pace, I was nonetheless eager to see when my boy would finally start to learn to talk.

His breakthrough came last month when he suddenly picked up over a dozen words and was better able to articulate himself when he wanted something. Since then, he has been learning more words each day including sounds of animals, names of family members, colour names and so on. While I think it can also be accredited to his age and our constant teaching at home, I think being exposed to a variety of both English and Chinese words, nursery rhymes, poems and even foreign language songs in Heguru class helps to play a part too. Morever, he gets to interact with his classmates and the teachers (who all dote on him a lot) and that helps to develop his social skills in more ways than one too.

One of his favourite words is "Baby" and he says it whenever he sees a picture of it or a cute baby on the street

Being able to interact with teachers and friends makes him more confident and helps to improve his social skills

I'm pretty sure we still have many more benefits to reap from Asher's right brain training journey but for now, I'm just very thankful that we get to do this together as mother-and-son and that he is enjoying his weekly sessions with his teachers and friends at Heguru Education Centre. Till more updates on his progress next year!

A Parent's Lecture is given out after class to recap the concepts learnt with suggestions for home practice activities


A look at how the girls are doing

While the toddler still has a long way to go in his right brain training journey, the two sisters have been in it for over a year and a half already. Yes, it's amazing how time flies!

In my previous post, I share with you our experience, feedback as well as the areas of improvement I've noticed in the girls. As mentioned, I'm very concerned about whether they are happy coming to Heguru because it means cutting short on their naps and having to commute and attend 1.5 to 2 hours of class every week - on top of what they do in their schools. In fact, I was just talking about this to them yesterday and both of them said "But I love Heguru" and Ariel even said "I don't want to stop my Heguru class, ever". I guess that speaks volumes about how much they love their class, the teachers and the activities.

I did a quick check with their Heguru teachers and they revealed that both of the girls are still thriving and performing well in class. Not only are they able to complete many activities on time, they also show enthusiasm in answering questions and they manage to complete many of their tasks independently too. That is quite a relief to hear because I do know of kids who lose interest and stop paying attention after some time and that is when the classes do not benefit them as much.

Solving the Pelican puzzle on her own

The number memory activity is one of our favourites
From the puzzles and memory games to the arithmetic and problem solving questions, it seems like both of the girls have a common liking for these class activities. Even though it can be quite hectic at times considering that every lesson consists of over 60 activities, the good thing is they are loving the challenge and are kept occupied at all times during the class.

In terms of academic performance, Ariel has been doing well in Kindergarten 1 at her preschool and is picking up new knowledge and skills well. Her teachers have reflected that she is a fast learner and enjoys school and being with her peers. As for Angel, she has gone on to top her class at Primary 2 level and also achieved Best in Math. Her good memory has also helped her to handle all her spelling tests with ease. While it can be debated whether or not their right brain training has contributed to their overall academic performance, I do think a lot of credit must be given to their beloved teachers at Heguru - who are ever so patient, kind and friendly in guiding the little ones. Thank you Teacher Shi Xian and Teacher Jocelyn! It is evident to me that the girls are progressing well, learning at a good pace and finding joy in everything they do - which means we are on track in choosing the best suited enrichment classes for them.

Link memory activity helps them to focus and boost their memory by having to memorise a series of cards

Doing the string puzzle within the time limit of 3 minutes
I'm not big on enrichment classes for kids but so far, art and right brain training seem to be working well for mine so I'll just stick to these two for now. As long as they're happy doing what they do and are keen to learn, I think this positive attitude is what will carry them far in life. So, we will be continuing our journey in Heguru Education Centre and see where it leads us. Till more updates next year!

Heguru Education Centre outlets are located at Waterway Point, SingPost Centre, Tampines and Sengkang. To find out more about the courses offered and read up on right brain training, visit or their Facebook page.

Disclosure: We have been invited by Heguru Education Centre to review their courses and the kids attend complimentary lessons in return. All photographs and opinions are our own.


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