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China: Child Prodigy, just 5 months old knows math

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Teaching methods of baby genius parents criticized. A recent report of a 5-month-old ‘baby genius’ who was able to make calculations and correctly identify Chinese characters after undergoing early education techniques has sparked controversy over whether it is appropriate to educate babies in this way. A couple from Beijing recently claimed that their 5-month-old daughter, Qianqian, could not only do mathematical calculations, but also identify over 1,000 Chinese characters, the Beijing News reported. According to the report, Qianqian is able to do arithmetic such as “five plus three, divided by two, minus one, plus six.” Upon hearing the math question from her mother, she then chooses a card that reads the correct answer. “She can normally get

the answer within 30 seconds,” Qianqian’s mother surnamed Ma told the paper. However, some people said this was tantamount to “helping the shoots grow by pulling them upward,” or forcing a child’s development before his time. “Life is like a marathon, if she runs too fast in the beginning, she will be too exhausted to keep up with others later on,” Dong Ling, mother of a 1-year-old girl, told the Global Times Tuesday. Ma said she has never forced Qianqian to learn. Cai Jingkun, a senior consultant with preschool.net.cn, told the Global Times that it is not unusual for a baby to be able to calculate after some training. According to Cai, up until about three years of age, babies’ eyes are akin to a camera, storing what they see around them as pictures in the brain. “Qianqian chose the right answer based on her memory as opposed to her calculating ability,” he said. Qianqian’s parents used a dot card method created by Glenn Doman, a linguist and educator from the 1960s. He used large flash cards with dots, increasing the number of random dots on the cards gradually, getting children accustomed first to quantities, then to equations with those quantities, and finally even sophisticated algebraic sequences. “We can’t give up on education for babies, but too much pressure is not good for their growth,” Cai added. News from: china.globaltimes.cn

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