author: Masaru Ibuka
This is a terrifying book to read for those who have children above three years of age. Terrifying because it gives them the feeling that either they have missed the boat that took all the “education mamas” and “education papas” to the kingdom of enlightenment, or they have been giving the wrong training to their children now in kindergarten or in school.
However, if you have read Dr. Glenn Doman’s How to Teach Baby to Read, the chances are you will appreciate and enjoy this book by Masaru Ibuka, and wish that you had come across it earlier. Glenn Doman writes the introduction to Kindergarten Is Too Late, recommending it as a book that offers a plan to change our whole approach to the bringing up of small children.
Both Ibuka and Doman have the same belief:" The period for the most concentrated, and in some areas the most effective learning is NOT during our school days or our college years: it is the period BEFORE we are sent to kindergarten – the first two or three years of life."Masaru Ibuka makes astonishing (and interesting) suggestions for the early development of the child. Since a small child would rather learn than eat, why not let him learn foreign languages at the same time as his mother tongue? Why not let him learn to swim at the same time as crawl? Why not let him learn to read, and learn to play a musical instrument? According to Ibuka, the infant’s brain can take an almost infinite amount of “input” and there is no ground for concern about “force-feeding” or over-stimulating him: “like a sponge, the infant’s brain absorbs, and if it comes to a point of saturation, it automatically stops taking any more in.”
Because children hunger for learning experiences, they should be exposed only to the very best, says Ibuka, and be offered lessons in as many different skills as possible, rather than training in any one particular field. The author claims that training in violin playing develops powers of concentration (his friend Dr. Suzuki has already taught thousands of two- and three-year-olds to play the violin).
Another interesting claim of Ibuka’s is that excellence in one thing gives confidence in others. Even if the reader does not agree fully with Ibuka about early-development theories, this book will at least encourage him to think about satisfying the young child’s immense curiosity about his environment.
Ibuka has another message: that the human intellectual potential is far greater than people realize and certainly much greater than any present educational system allows. He makes this suggestion: that we strive to develop this potential in children to the fullest extent, and that we change some of our current educational practices toward that end.
Parents and teachers of very young children should read Kindergarten Is Too Late and use its revolutionary ideas to help such children acquire many forms of learning before it is too late – in the all-important years before kindergarten or the pre-primary stage.