HIKARI mental arithmetic program
In Kid Genius school, the original HIKARI 光 mental arithmetic program is applied. Hikari in Japanese means light and symbolizes the process of learning and awakening (illuminating) our mental capacities. The program has a unique method originating from Japan, a cradle of mental arithmetic. It was created as a result of many years of work by psychologists, pedagogues and other experts in the field of education, and it is based on the use of the ancient calculating device abacus (算盤 jap. Soroban).
The program is based on the Total Brain Development Program and the VAK method (Visual Audit Kinesthetic).
- TBDP (Total Brain Development Program) represents a system of overall brain development that stimulates the activation of both brain hemispheres in the early stages of life. As a result of this activation, a series of mental abilities, such as memory, intelligence, concentration, imagination, are being improved.
- The VAK method (Visual – Audit – Kinesthetic) is a method developed on the basis of neurolinguistic programming (NLP) and involves the inclusion of three senses (vision, hearing, touch) in the learning process. This technique could also be described as Visual – I see what you are telling me; Audible - It sounds good to me; Kinesthetic (body) – show me how to do it. Scientific researches have shown that the best results are achieved when in the learning process information is received though different senses because in that way the largest number of neuronal connections in the brain are activated. By such learning, the memory process reaches its maximum as the received information is transmitted from one brain hemisphere to the other, thereby activating the whole brain potential.
The program is intended for children aged 4 to 12 (ending with 14), because during this period child’s brain develops most dynamically. The program is flexible and carefully designed, taking into consideration the individual needs of each child. Learning is practiced in small groups (6-12 participants), through fun activities, various games and competitions, and the most important thing is relaxing and creative atmosphere and positive emotional relationships.
The goal of the program is for a child to maximally awaken his mental capacities and become Kid Genius. Mental development is achieved in a fun and playful way, based on three key things: calculating abacus, mental arithmetic and didactic games. Using the abacus, both cerebral hemispheres are activated to achieve maximum intellectual potential. After mastering abacus work, students are able to perform complicated calculating operations such as 235 + 64 + 361 – 97 + 196 – 98 =…. without any tools, purely mentally, giving the correct answer in just a few seconds. This ability Kid Genius keeps forever, possessing it throughout his life.
PHASES OF THE PROGRAM
Preparation phase – CONCEPT AND COMPLEMENTS FROM 1 TO 100
The starting phase is applied to the youngest students. The purpose of the preparatory phase is to introduce the youngest participants to the notion of the number and learn the laws applicable to numbers 1 to 100 (number complementarity.)
The first phase – USE OF SOROBAN (ABACUS)
The abacus phase lasts at the initial levels, using soroban (算盤, abacus), an ancient Japanese calculating device, known as the precursor to today’s computers. Children use two fingers of the left and the right hand to move the abacus beads, and in that way they perform specific calculating operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division).
At this stage, the focus of learning is on fine motor skills and sensory stimulation (touch, sight, and hearing). By learning abacus, children activate their senses, because in time they begin to visualize beads that they see (visually), following the teacher’s words (listening) to take concrete action, and moving the beads of the abacus (touch) to the correct answer. During the described procedure an intensive brain process is performed. Children’s fingers are constantly on the move by touching the beads, which activates tactile stimulation acting in the brain, significantly increasing the number of neuronal connections (synapses). Since calculating operations are done with the fingers of both hands, both brain hemispheres are activated, which leads to an increase of the cognitive capacity of children. That’s why it can be said that logical operations on the abacus represent true brain gymnastics, something like squads or push-ups for the brain.!
The second phase – MENTAL ARITHMETIC AND VISUALIZATION
The phase of mental arithmetic (暗算, jap. Anzan) begins at higher levels where the abacus is physically abandoned and children learn to count in the mind, imagining abacus and calculating on it. In this calculation, it can be noticed that children still move their fingers as if their abacus is still in their hands. However, they have mastered specific “multi-tasking” skill. This ability of children was developed thanks to the right hemisphere of the brain, responsible for imagination, photographic memory and creativity. These cognitive actions are performed though play, fun and obligatory relaxation. By developing these important skills in the early period, the child will be provided with better quality of life and be prepared for the most demanding business and emotional challenges