Friday, January 7, 2011

New additions to the school library

Martine is the title character in a series of books for children written in French by the Belgians Marcel Marlier and Gilbert Delahaye. and edited by Casterman. The first one, Martine à la ferme (Martine At the Farm), was published in 1954, followed by over 50 other books, which have been translated into many different languages.

The school library now has 30 stories of Martine on CD so that parents and children can read along to these wonderful books together. The illustrations are beautiful, and each book focuses on a specific topic, rich in vocabulary. For example, when Martine goes to ride a pony, dances ballet, goes to the pool for a swim lesson, or goes camping, a child learns all of the rich vocabulary associated with that topic in context through the story. Please check them out, we're sure you and your child will enjoy them!

Dr. Suzuki's book "Nurtured by Love" provides a wonderful insight into the method. Below you will find a few excerpts. Thanks to Dee Dee Oehrtmann for suggesting this book be made available to parents considering Suzuki.

Oh-why, Japanese children can all speak Japanese! The thought suddenly struck me with amazement. In fact, all children throughout the world speak their native tongues with the utmost fluency. Any and every Japanese child- all speak Japanese without difficulty. Does that not show a starling talent? How, by what means, does this come about? I had to control an impulse to shout my joy over this discovery. This happened about thirty years ago, when I was thirty three or thirty fours old. Following up the thought that stuck me so forcibly on that day, and trying to find a solution, soon became the basic purpose of my life.

How does this surprising fact come about?

The father asked me to teach his son violin. At the time I didn’t know how to train such a small child, or what to teach him. I didn’t have such experience. What kind of violin training would be good for a four-year old? I thought about it from morning to night. The answer come from my discovery.

At that time, three of my brothers and I had just formed the Suzuki Quartet. One day, when we were practicing at the house of my younger brother, it hit me like a flash: all Japanese children speak Japanese! This thought struck me like a flash of light in a dark night. Since they all speak Japanese so easily and fluently, there must be a secret; and this must be training. Indeed, all children everywhere in the world are brought up by perfect educational method: their mother tongue. Why not apply this method to other faculties? I felt I had made a tremendous discovery. If a child cannot do his arithmetic, it is said that his intelligence is below average. Yet he can speak the difficult Japanese language – or his own native language – very well. Isn’t this something to ponder and think about? In my opinion, the child who cannot do arithmetic is not below the average in intelligence; it is the educational system that is wrong. His ability or talent simply has not been developed properly. It is astonishing that no one discovered this before, although the situation clearly has existed throughout human history.

Ability training is the secret

1. If the mother-tongue method of education were used in schools today, the results would far surpass those obtained by present methods. For instance, we often hear: “Here is a child who is not very bright; he was born with low intelligence.” But how do we account for the splendid capacity of children to speak Japanese? Do we search for a better method of training? Furthermore, a child is judged only from five or six years of age on. Nobody seems to care what happened before – what kind of education the child had from early infancy.

2. All children skillfully reared reach a high educational level but such rearing must start from the day of birth. Here, to my mind, lies the key to the fuller development of man’s potentials and abilities.

When I was asked to teach four-year-old Toshiya, I thought – and kept thinking – How? Finally the mother-tongue method occurred to me and I felt that it contained all that was necessary. For thirty years now I have been pleading with people to believe that all children can be well educated, and not to turn away those who drop behind in learning. I named my method Talent Education, and began an educational movement in which children dropping behind or struggling to get along are not turned away. The day of my startling discovery became for me the starting point in my search for human potentials. And how did I fare? With glances back at the past and full of hope for the future, I would like to tell the story.