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Open Features: Education Begins In The Womb

"This essay is about what it takes to create the most highly intelligent and capable children....''

Marsh Kaminsky is eager to launch an educational experiment that would revolutionise the world by hugely increasing the nunber of people of high intelligence.

Preface

You are reading this because you want your child to be very intelligent. You sure won't be disappointed. If you have the right attitude, learn the simple teaching methodologies presented, and make the necessary time and effort commitments, your child will develop an incredibly high intellect, even far superior to Einstein's. That's a promise. By making the effort now while your child is still very young, you just might prevent no end of costly problems and mistakes

Much of the information here will no doubt appear to be very far out, fanciful, or totally off the wall. Nevertheless, it's all true and I stand by every word I've written because I personally lived everything I wrote. I didn't learn about brain building or early reading instruction from conjecture or by just reading some how-to book. I learned it by doing it, sitting beside my two year old son's bed, teaching him how to read and compute. I remember saying to him soon after I began the lessons, "Hey Daniel, this is the letter T. Do you remember what sound the letter T makes?" Honest folks, it was no more complicated than that. From those simple nighttime lessons, my son entered kindergarten already reading at the fourth grade level and maybe the fifth. I kid you not.

A bit about the author.

I was born in 1943 and raised in the heart of Chicago's south side. I later graduated Southern Illinois University with a degree in accounting. From there, I moved with my bride to San Francisco where I first became an IRS field agent and then, after six years, a self employed CPA. Let's move forward several years to 1981, the year I decided to teach my two year old son how to read. That innocent little decision would eventually lead to my life's mission which had nothing to do with accounting and everything to do with little kids and their fabulous learning abilities. That decision also led to the end of my twenty-four year marriage, the demise of my work in accounting, and the end of most of my income. It also signaled the end of my residence in San Francisco, a city I lived in for twenty-three years and dearly loved.

Six years ago I wrote my first book on early learning. Unfortunately it was not correctly written because it began when my son was two years old. The book should have begun while my son was still in his mother's womb. I am now rewriting it here to correct its errors and deficiencies.

I have no idea why, but I have always been fascinated by the subject of high human intelligence. That interest forms the backbone of my goal to create the most intelligent and talented child on earth. To do that, I would need to find a child, preferably an inner city youngster about a year or two years old whose mind I can stimulate as I see fit. Since I am in a wheelchair with Multiple Sclerosis, I know the odds in getting such a child aren't exactly great. But nevertheless, that's what I want to do, and could do, if given the opportunity. When it comes to teaching a tot or toddler how to read and compute, I am very good at it. To give you a glimpse of my teaching plan. This child would fluently speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Japanese at five years old. The child's IQ would be in the 200+ range and she would know by heart most of the symphonies and concertos by the masters. That's besides playing a mean game of bridge, Scrabble, and the piano. I hope the reader can see that its my aim to do something that has never been done before. The mere thought of doing this tingles my spine because I know it can be done and I know how to do it. What I cannot physically do because of my MS, I will teach others how.

The results of such lessons would prove that a child's genetics has little or nothing to do with a child's ultimate intelligence and talents as an adult. Let me say it loud and clear: IT'S THE ENVIRONMENT THAT COUNTS.

What happens if early childhood stimulation far exceeds what is now considered normal? What happens is a huge extra amount of brain growth with accompanying amounts of very high intelligence. In a nutshell, extraordinary amounts of early brain stimulation acts as a super brain growth catalyst, like high octane gasoline works in a gasoline engine. Providing extra high octane stimulation is what a large part of what this book is all about. Moreover, parents will learn how to provide stimulation in a way children will love and look forward to it. Do not forget that little kids just love to learn. Nature has made sure that's what they do best and enjoy the most. Thus, to summarize, this essay is about what it takes to create the most highly intelligent and capable children in America. Frankly, no matter what the other neuroscientists are doing, it's nothing compared to brain building.

I know that's saying quite a mouthful, especially from someone like myself who is not a professional educator nor a scientist. In fact, as a retired CPA and former IRS agent, I have no business knowing very much about this subject.

Amazing things happen to a child's brain when and if the child is taught how to read when she is first learning how to walk and talk. THIS YOUNG AGE IS BY FAR THE BEST TIME TO TEACH OUR CHILDREN HOW TO READ TO A HIGH LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY.

“From birth to three are the key years for developing a child's intelligence, Don't wait ‘til kindergarten!” - Kindergarten Is Too Late by Masaru Ibuka

With their brain scanning devices, neuroscientists have learned that a child's brain grows when it is stimulated by the environment, particularly during the first three years. This is called brain building. Prior to that, it was commonly thought inherited genes were solely responsible for our intelligence. Not so anymore. In the intellectual and scientific struggle between nature and nurture as to which of those two created intelligence, nurture is now by far the dominant causal factor. That's vitally important because, while we cannot control our inherited genes, we can sure control the amount of environmental stimulation a child absorbs. This means we can now make a child as intelligent as we want her to be. It's no longer a case of "what you see, is what you get." The question to parents Is now, "what do you want?" It goes without saying that, for the vast betterment of our country our neuroscientists and parents should immediately jump on brain building.

To illustrate this brain growth phenomenon in simple layman terms, think about what happens when a body builder strenuously exercises his muscles. With enough exercise, his muscles will grow larger and stronger. That's nothing new, everyone knows about body building. But what is new is that scientists have demonstrated that the very young human brain, when stimulated or exercised, grows in power like our muscles. While there is a limit to muscle growth, there is no known limit to brain growth or the level of intelligence.

Out of a fit of jealousy or envy I suppose, someone once asked me why it was so damned important to be very smart. At the time, I remember that I could not believe anyone could ask such a dumb question. Besides the fact that it makes school so much easier, high intelligence will provide for increased income.and overall, a much better life.

But why should parents bother with all this teaching stuff? Doesn't Head Start do this for free? Well, it would have if the original concept of the program as conceived in 1965 by the Johnson administration had been followed. Unfortunately Head Start has been never more than a free baby sitting service that does not concern itself with such mundane matters as building high intelligence. There is no telling how many children Head Start could have helped, but never did because of its idiotic belief in developmentalism. Because of this educational philosophy, preschool children are not taught reading or any other academics because the administrators of Head Start believe children are not yet developed enough for academics like reading. That's utterly fallacious and, because early reading increases intelligence, a zillion kids are robbed of much of their intellect. Developmentalists counter that by saying early academics robs kids of their childhood. Who are parents to believe?

Developmentalists also say that little kids should not be pressured to learn. Well, I agree. Pressure has no place in preschool education. But I know that the developmentalists have the culprits mixed up. As I already said, once youngsters start to realize that one-on-one learning time with their parents is great fun, they pressure them for more and more learning time!

At no other time will a person learn more or with such speed and gusto than during the first three years of their childhood. This period of time (often called the open window) is very special, crucial, and must not be ignored any longer.

Here is some interesting history. About sixty years ago, a psychologist named Dr. Beth Lucy Wellman from the University of Iowa discovered a brain phenomena of enormous importance to humankind. With an educational program in the 1940s involving orphans, she demonstrated that above average amounts of brain stimulation makes an orphan's brain grow more powerful and intelligent, even more so than many normal children with both parents! This was the unbelievable brain science that helped lead America into the federal Head Start program that started in 1965. As important as this was, no one heralded Dr. Wellman's discovery. A Nobel prize was never awarded to her. Today's educators and neuroscientists have done very little of any significance with brain building, primarily because they themselves haven't a clue how to teach academics to tots. As a result, very few parents today know much about "brain building," or the "Mozart Effect" as some like to call it these days. One major intent of this essay is to finally give some well deserved recognition to the late Dr. Wellman for her work in the neuroscience's. http://www.brainy-child.com/article/wellman-project.shtml

Dr. Beth Wellman's brain discovery ranks in importance with the invention of the alphabet and agriculture. For my money, her discovery was far more important than anything Einstein discovered.

I learned all this quite by accident when I started to teach my two year old son how to read as a nightly project right before lights out. At the time it was never supposed to be anything serious, just a fun diversion from the endless tedium of income tax preparation. Besides the intellectual benefits that soon emerged from my son, the teaching experience was by far the most interesting and enjoyable experience of my life. I really envy those parents who read this essay and decide to be their children's first teacher. They will never regret it and their children will someday love them for it.

Besides the fact that he turned into a great reader, I had my son's IQ tested by two psychologists when he was four years old. Even before going to kindergarten, he read well enough to take a second grade IQ test. They told me it was a whopping 148! Now I was really hooked on the brain! I just had to find out if those reading lessons had anything to do with my son's high intellect. The quest to find out has taken me much of the last twenty years.

Einstein was sure smart, but with more early stimulation, he could have been much smarter

Geniuses are early born smart because of a genetic accident of some sort or through the luck of the draw. It does not often happen like that. Basically, all children are born intellectually alike, without much intelligence. But, on the other hand, all children are born with a huge potential intelligence that early learning hooks into. I know what I just said will annoy those legions of parents who think their children are brilliant because they inherited their parent's lofty genes. But genetics. I am sorry to tell those parents, has very little to do with the creation of a child's intelligence. Instead intelligence is created by exposing a child's brain to long term extensive stimulation or practice like you'd expect from a piano virtuoso. Long term practice not only makes perfect; it creates child prodigies and geniuses as well.

To illustrate this brain phenomena, think about what happens when a body builder strenuously exercises his muscles. With enough exercise, his muscles will grow larger and stronger. This is nothing new, almost everyone knows about body building. But what is new and quite revolutionary is that scientists have proven that the young human brain, when stimulated, grows in power and size like our muscles.

If ten minutes a day is an ordinary amount of brain stimulation and that creates an average IQ of 100, what happens if a very young child is given an extra dose of stimulation for an hour a day? Or two hours? Three? Would we then get child prodigies or super geniuses with IQs in the 200+ range? Would we get children who routinely enter kindergarten already reading at the fifth grade level or above? I say we'd get that and very possibly much more. There is no known limit to how much our brains can grow and how intelligent we can become. Depending on the amount and type of stimulation provided and at what age, our children's potential intellect is astoundingly high. There is nothing in science or anywhere else that holds nearly as much promise for humankind's benefit as very high intelligence created by intensive brain stimulation given to children before their third birthday.

Stimulation is simply an activity that makes the brain think. Thinking is the mental exercise that makes the brain grow. What are the best forms of brain stimulation? Conversing with a child, long periods of them listening to music of the masters, reading to them, and telling them stories, are four of the best. But by far the most effective form of stimulation is teaching our munchkins how to read! That begins at about twelve months old. Reading is truly our species intellectual magic bullet.

People who think that twelve months old is too early to start reading instruction know very little about the amazing learning capabilities of young children nor about the enormous brain growth fostered by such early instruction. If they are learning how to walk and talk at this age, they can surely start to learn how to read at that age. Just consider that they are learning how to speak English, a very difficult language. Add to that the fact that if they are also exposed to Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish, they will learn those languages as well, and never mix them up. Considering their astounding ability in learning languages, why would anyone think that tots and toddlers could not learn how to read?

The amazing human brain - the more you put in, the more it holds. In all of nature there is not another receptacle like this one.

Even parents who are poor and poorly educated can give their little ones an enormous head start in life by beginning the reading instruction lessons when their kids start to walk and talk. To start, all that parents really must know and teach their kids is the alphabet and about a hundred short simple words. With that knowledge and lots of practice from their parents, most children should be able to enter kindergarten reading at the third or fourth grade level or above.Schools cannot hope to do that; just one on one parental teaching can do that. For the most part, parents have no idea how much they can influence their children's future academic and intellectual life. In this department, schools and their teachers, no matter how good they may be, cannot begin to compete with informed, dedicated, and motivated parents.

I am not alone on this. Here is what brain researcher William Fowler said about child prodigies such as Mozart:

"In no instance where documentation exists have I found any individual of high ability who did not experience intensive [emphasis added) early stimulation as a central component of his development . . . The unvarying coincidence of extensive early stimulation with cognitive precocity and subsequent superior competence in adulthood suggests that stimulation is a necessity for the development of high abilities."

And another scientist said much the same thing:

"Give me a dozen healthy infants and my own specific world to bring them up in, and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select -- doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chef and yes, even beggar and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors." - John B. Watson, 1924

Formal schooling begins at five years old, but brain stimulation begins in the womb.

Then there is Dr. Laszlo Polgar, an educational psychologist from Hungary. Several years ago he and his wife decided that their children should be geniuses. Using the game of chess as a brain stimulation tool for his daughters, he literally created three extremely intelligent chess grand masters. What a great story this is!

"Every child is born a genius. 9,999 out of every 10,000 are swiftly, inadvertently, de-geniused by grown-ups." - R. Buckminster Fuller

Inner city children need tons of intellectual respect. With that in mind, let's give them enormously high IQs and outstanding reading and memory skills. That'll do it. Instead of being so called "at risk," these incredibly precocious children would set the worldwide standard for scholastic excellence. In less than a decade with brain building, illiteracy and reading failure would become long forgotten nightmares.

The paramount question in neuroscience today is not how smart we are now, but how smart we could become in the future.

Rest assured that brain building will never go away. In perhaps a hundred or so years, the brain building I have described in this essay will become a commonplace parental practice. That's because the cat is out of the bag now with the Mozart Effect. Everyday more and more parents are hearing about this and they want their children to be, as the army says, all they can be. You can add that I will never give up on this. Someone, somewhere must demonstrate and prove what I have been talking about. I will send this essay out for as long as I am able, to as many people as I can, until little kids get the intellectual respect they so deserve. After that, I will write the revised book, EDUCATION BEGINS IN THE WOMB.

Very high intelligence simply boils down to: The kind of stimulation, the amounts given, and at what age it's given. In the simplest of terms, let's give our younguns hours and hours of reading instruction starting at about sixteen months old.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” - United Negro College Fund.

The future of humanity lies not in exploring outer space or even the atom. It lies in harnessing the immense and largely untapped power of the human brain.

“From birth to three are the key years for developing a child's intelligence --don’t wait ‘til kindergarten!” - Kindergarten Is Too Late by Masaru Ibuka.

Here is what will happen if I taught this child: Before the child is born I would spend hours stimulating it by talking and gently having the mother's abdomen caressed. Still before birth, I would inundate the house with classical music. Next, comes learning the alphabet with phonics. Sign language instruction. Then hours of reading instruction. Then comes foreign language instruction starting with Mandarin. Then, swimming and violin lessons. I hope the reader now has an idea about the extent of the lessons, particularly reading, the king of all subjects. By the time this child reaches five years old, he/she will undoubtedly be the most well rounded and educated child in America. This child would be numero uno on the IQ and talent charts. No one would begin to approach him/her in any department.

About six years ago I wrote and self published a book on early learning. The subject was how parents could vastly increase the intelligence of their children. It was based on my experiences as a parent while teaching my two year old son how to read. My aim now is revise that original book to share many new things I've learned. The revised book is to be called, EDUCATION BEGINS IN THE WOMB

To prove what I have been saying about the very young human brain, a demonstration project with a newborn or even a pre-newborn, and a neuroscience department at a university would be necessary. There is simply no other way to prove that early intensive stimulation creates super intelligent children. than by actually doing it and recording the weekly changes. From my experience in teaching my son how to read and from what I've read about child prodigies in the past, I estimate that a project like this, to do right, would take three to four hours a day for three or four years. Sure, that's quite an investment in time, but look at the fabulous intellectual rewards our country would get in return! Illliteracy and school failure would completely disappear with a new batch of brilliant children. These very well educated, multilingual, and highly cultured children would change the face of the world as we now know it.

Lastly, who should manage and pay for this teaching project? I think the only people who can organize such a project would be people in the high tech electronics industry. They are the ones who have the most to gain from a very intelligent work force. Furthermore, they are also in a position to fund this project.. Companies like Motorola, Intel, Dell, and Microsoft come to mind as likely candidates.

Let me first list the best reason why I should write another book on this subject. The new book would be entirely based on real life week to week experiences, like a diary. I will write it as I live it. THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE, NOR WILL ANYONE DO IT IF I DON'T. Now we are talking about me moving into another family's house in order to spend days teaching their youngster. This is the only way to prove early stimulation will do as I said it will do.

WHY SHOULD ANYONE BELIEVE THE RESULTS OF SUCH EARLY INSTRUCTION WOULD BE AS I SAY? After all, who am I to make such claims? Because I am a CPA by profession, I shouldn't know very much about this subject. Nothing, in fact.But I was so fascinated by the results of teaching my two year old son how to read, that I made it my business, a new mission in my life to learn all I could about brain building. I understand that I do not know as much about dendrites and axons as a neuroscientist, but I know a whole lot more about the methodology of teaching tots and toddlers reading and other academics than our Ph.D. "experts." I have a very different point of view because almost everything I learned was from actual hands on experience over a five year period. I have read many other how to books and they all lack, among other things, the inspiration to learn from a parental loving touch. I have learned kids of all ages learn a lot more if they are having a great time.

To continue, since writing that first book, I have learned it was woefully incomplete because it begins when children are two years old, as my son was when I began to teach him how to read. But if the object is to make our children as intelligent as possible, or, as the army says, to be all they can be, the education of a child should begin about four months prior to birth while the child is still in the womb. Of that, I am now very sure. Furthermore, those four months prior to birth should include no end of classical music, soft touching of the mother's abdomen, and the parents talking. And then, soon after the baby is born, sign language instruction, and, if possible, instruction in two or three foreign languages, Spanish, Mandarin and Japanese. I believe that mutilinguism will become much more important in the future, as well as memory enhancement techniques.

A whole new world in education is looming because of brain building.

Then there is a man named Kim Peek who has some amazing abilities parents should know about. As for his abilities. he has a legendary memory.. It is said he can memorize a book from the fist reading. He has memorized about 3,000 books! People with such abilities are often autistic and are called idiot savants. The important thing to keep in mind is that we all have Peek's kind of memory power.. That tells me we all have fabulous memory powers that we must find a way to access. I cannot demonstrate it until it is tried, but I wonder what effect extraordinary amounts of early learning would have on such latent memory powers. I suspect that massive amounts of early stimulation would change our species in ways I cannot predict. If anyone wants to learn more about Mr. PEEK, google Dr.Darrold Treffert, a psychiatrist who spent many years studying savants and Mr. Peek.

Marsh Kaminsky CPA
Copyright 2009

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