Can you really teach math to a baby? And why would you want to?

The possibility of introducing babies to mathematical concepts is an intriguing one, if you believe in right-brain teaching.

Right-brain educators Glenn Doman and Makoto Shichida have shown that babies are able to perceive quantity in a way not open to most adults. Because the right hemisphere of the brain is dominant from birth up to the age of three and a half, babies and children below this age can naturally “see” – in the sense of perceive – the number of items in a set without counting them. This is an ability shared by right-brain-dominant savants as well as geniuses.

So, for example, a baby can tell that there are 69 dots on a card just by glancing at it – and know for sure that there are 69 dots, and not 70 or 68. All we need to then do is teach the baby that we call those 69 dots by the name “69.”

Some critics have stated that babies cannot perceive quantity except in the most rudimentary fashion – as “amount of stuff.” Psychologists have carried out experiments to show that young children can be tricked into believing that there is more of something if the items in a set are simply spaced further apart. At the same time however, these same critics concede that children can also be taught to pay attention to quantity over “amount of stuff.”

Critics who dismiss the notion of young children learning mathematics do so because they reject the idea that young children can be relied on to count in an accurate and consistent fashion. Counting is indeed a skill that is often only honed around the age of four. However, the beauty of teaching babies math is that they are young enough for it not to involve counting at all. The aim of such early instruction, according to Glenn Doman, is to teach children the true nature of numbers – thereby making them literate in the language of mathematics. When you can instantly see 69 dots as they are presented to you, then you truly understand the meaning of “69.” For the rest of us, who did not benefit from right-brain teaching as babies or small children, counting is the only way to apprehend that there are 69 dots in front of us. And counting in this way means that we only understand the number 69 as an abstract concept.

Thanks to Doman and Shichida, countless children have been able to retain the ability to perceive quantity. The evidence can be found in numerous videos posted on YouTube. Amazing as this ability appears to most adults, sometimes the most engaging thing about the lesson footage is the babies’ reactions. If you have never used flash cards with a baby and decide to give it a try, you may be surprised at the degree of excitement this evokes!

Now it’s time to find out exactly how math can be taught to babies’ highly receptive right brains – by the Flash Card Method.

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