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English course for 2-3-yr-olds

14 Comments

Benesse Corp has released a CD/DVD English course for 2-3-year-olds, starring company mascot Shimajiro who is popular with children in Japan. Kids are encouraged to follow along, pronouncing and becoming used to common sounds in the English language, while acting and dancing along with the characters.

Each chapter in the series takes about two months to complete at the recommended pace. The materials are delivered via mail. The course can be purchased in installments for 3,850 yen.

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I'm torn: people keep telling me kids should study a language as early as possible, on the other hand, I've always had disdain for this sort of brain-cramming...

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Saborichan - I disagree. kids should not study a language as early as possible. However kids who are brought up in a bilingual environment will naturally do well, because they are not studying. They are learning naturally.

I have always had distain for programmes that claim to educate while shoving a kid in front of a TV. While television can be an excellent tool, I dont think children can learn solely from it. They need interaction in the language outwith television too - to put the language into context.

Any parent who truly wanted their kid to learn english would be taking an english lesson with them once a week. Even the nonsense like Yamaha is better than this.

Just another way for Japanese monster parents to become more pushy...

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I believe the mascot is Shimajiro and not Shinjiro. My kid had that cool animal years ago.

Moderator: Thank you. It has been corrected.

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this will not help the kids at all

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Wait, what, did we just go back to the 1980s??

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this will not help the kids at all

I disagree. The revenue from this drivel will help feed and educate the kids of the parents who work at Benesse. :) As for the kids who are forced to watch this, I can see where it may slightly help their listening skills, but that's about it.

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Indeed, hime... I was just telling some people about my time in Japan the other day, saying that the kids considered it a subject and not a language.

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2-year olds?? That is ridiculous!

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I suppose it all depends on how it's used. If the toddler is just propped up in front of the telly and told to get on with it, it will be worse than useless. If Mum (or Dad) sits down too, joins in and provides plenty of appropriate follow-up, it could be OK.

What it all boils down to is what input comes from Mum and Dad.

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now i know my abc .....next time won't u sing mith me

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Earlier does not mean better! A CD with English songs probably works best at this age. Anyone have memories of when they were 2 or even 3?!

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money money money. English is money. they dont give a damn about teaching English, they just want your money!!! Its just more exploitation that produces 0 results. We can express our opinions about what age etc.etc. all we want to, but the minds behind this product couldnt care less. Just another greedy Japanese company trying to exploit the need for English but not giving a rats ass about actually supplying the demand with a real product.

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Videos like that can be useful. Kids love watching and mimicking. They can learn words and meaning and pronunciation. Often people don't need the explanation.

Professional English teachers hate to hear this, but kids can learn a lot of language (their own or foreign) by just watching the same video over and over again. In fact, I think it makes more sense getting a kid to just plop in front of a TV set and watch a kids movie or show over and over again than send them to the local kids eikaiwa. (Yes, there are thousands of kids in japan who have been to two years of once a week eikaiwa with a REAL English teacher who can't say or understand much when they meet a foreigner other than their teacher.

so, 3800 yen watched fifty times makes sense to me. That's about the same cost as 2 or 3 lessons with Mary and her eikaiwa coloring books.

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Making toddlers watch these videos probably won't help much, but if parents watch the videos together with the kids and they sing and dance together along with the Shimajiro tiger, then the kids would probably memorize the songs and phrases.

We speak Japanese and English at home but when we watch Dora the Explorer DVD with our toddler, we sit together and we count Uno Dos Tres together and dance, we shout AMIGO~ and have a good time... My toddler can count 1 to 10 in Spanish and can sing some simple Spanish children's songs she learned from other kids DVDs because WE sing together and have fun :)

So, yes, it all depends on how we use the language materials. The key is to learn together and have fun! Instead of studying the language, I'd say EXPOSE your kids with other language(s)... worked with me (grew up in a Japanese-French speaking house but my parents and I watched and danced Sesame Street and other English programs together and as a little girl, I remember shouting One Two Three! ):)

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