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Should English Teachers be Teaching Values?

When we teach, values are always implicit. Showing respect for others, taking turns, assuming responsibility and turning in assignments on time are key values that are an integral part of what students learn in school. These values teach children not only to be good class members, but are a basis for learning to become good citizens and community members. Which values are best? The question isn’t whether or not teachers should be teaching values, but what kinds of values should teachers help students develop. First, by being a positive role model, a teacher models the right behaviours. These include honesty, showing respect for others, taking responsibility for one’s actions, cooperation and caring. Students are the reflections of their teacher. The way teacher acts, behaves and talks, is observed and evaluated by the student. Secondly, by teaching students how to think and evaluate what they are learning, they are teaching values along with course content. For example, a lesson that teaches about Earth Day not only teaches facts and numbers, but also about caring for the environment. Language impacts our values English teachers, by the very nature of their course content, teach values. The languages that we learn and speak impact the way we think, the way we see the world, and the way we live our lives. When children learn a second language, they learn more than words. They learn about different cultures, about different ways of thinking and about how to accept and respect differences. More than 30 years of experience in teaching English as a Foreign Language has shown me that the original methodology that our trained Helen Doron teachers use in the classroom to teach English supports learning good values. Our teachers use positive reinforcement, which teaches students respect for others, as well as respect for themselves. Learning through fun and games in small groups of 4-8 students teaches good sportsmanship and team building skills.

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The Best Way to Teach English

Finding the Best Way to Teach English When my daughter Ella was four years old, she began learning to play the violin with the Suzuki method, which teaches young children to play musical instrument before reading notation. Dr Suzuki called this ‘the language of music’. He did this by repeated home hearing of the portions of music to be studied and positive activities in class to teach the young hands how to play. And he also made sure the children received positive feedback so they felt successful. I realised that this is actually how we should be teaching foreign languages: to very young children and by a way that imitated the manner in which they learn their mother tongue. It was clear to me that this had to be through repeated background hearing of language portions at home so that the brain would receive repeated hits and make the language part of its physiology, and by positive reinforcement by the teacher. Initially, I assumed that someone must have already developed such a methodology for teaching English, but this wasn’t the case. So, in 1985 I started teaching young children ages 1 to 6 with the goal of finding testing my theory of how it was best for young to learn English as a foreign language. To create the home background hearing that could be repeated, I created audio cassettes, which consisted of me plunking on the piano while singing, as well as making home recordings of poems and stories. It worked really well and the following year I had many more students and, because there was such great demand, I realised the need to train teachers in the methodology and materials. Clearly I also needed to create professional learning materials. Right from the beginning, my true passion was for the very young ages, because I believe that if a child has a good foundation, it is for life. This foundation extends beyond the classroom. Early parent-child bonding and helping parents to understand their children’s full potential during the early years not only makes for good learning but gives the child a basis for success, joy and self-confidence that has a very real impact on their children’s development. At these early ages, up to the age of seven, the child’s brain is primed for learning. The right mental stimulation and physical activities create greater brain connectivity and in turn, more neural pathways. This prepares him or her to succeed. Find out in part 2 how a fun and stress-free learning environment, based on support and positive reinforcement means that a child will believe in himself, learn easily and will have a foundation of confidence for life. Learn more about Helen Doron English and Helen Doron Kindergarten programmes.

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More than English, Values for Life

Over the past 30 years, I have seen and experienced how the Helen Doron methodology has helped children successfully learn English. While I am gratified that the method has been effective, I was interested to hear from teachers, teacher trainers, franchisees and Master Franchisors that the effectiveness of the method has gone beyond the classroom and has individually changed their family lives, their relationships and even the way they do business. I am not surprised because the Helen Doron method isn’t about just teaching English; it gives the teachers and their students a mindset and a foundation for success that extends beyond the classroom. I was recently contacted through social media by a gentleman who told me that the methodology had a lasting impact on him. A former Helen Doron English teacher, he understood that the learning process is dynamic and that it is necessary to adapt content and the method for learning to match the stage and level of development of the learner. As his teaching experience and career role changed, he moved to the U.S. and was able to take the tools he learnt in his HDE teacher training and successfully apply them to his work in industrial design. Helen Doron teachers are trained to provide positive reinforcement and build on how children naturally learn. The whole process of learning reinforces for the child that ‘yes, he can!’ He is encouraged and nurtured and this support is, in so many ways, counter to the traditional methods of teaching and even, of parenting. The methodology teaches people and takes them through a process of how to give feedback and how to help children grow. This positive approach creates a healthy mindset which affects all our relationships, not just those in the classroom. This is how parents should encourage their children. While parents might feel that they need to be critical or negative, it is truly unnecessary. When parents understand that positive reinforcement is a wonderful example for their children, it can extend to all their relationships. Family life improves, even professionally to train others; it can be used anywhere. Helen Doron English teacher training courses not only provide international qualifications that allow the teacher to teach anywhere in the world but gives them valuable life skills. In our teacher training courses, I see teachers go through a process. It is not just learning how to give positive feedback, it is about reaching deeper, learning to go back inside and be a child and come out in a positive manner. The playfulness brings the teacher out and teaches them techniques that they can use for life. I would not be surprised if people come on the course just to be deeply ingrained in our philosophy. They are being given skills for life. Find out more about the successful Helen Doron methodology HERE. Interested in teaching or other career opportunities with Helen Doron, click HERE.

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Learning Naturally with the Spiral Method Part 2

Helen, let’s please continue our conversation about the various elements that contribute to the success of the Helen Doron methodology; what makes the method work? There are a variety of components that contribute to the success of the methodology, and we have more to explain about the important features that spiral learning contributes to its success. Spiral learning is a relatively new concept in education. Rather than trying to master a subject all at once, spiral learning teaches a concept gradually and repeatedly, reinforcing concepts over time. The idea is that each time a student encounters the topic; the student expands their knowledge or improves their skill level. It is a very natural process. I’ll share an interesting anecdote with you: I had a two-year-old child attending one of my classes that was mostly four-year-old children. In the early years we didn’t have the wealth of learning materials that we now have and we varied the ages in the classroom. Today we are more precise. This child was what we today might call hyperactive and he spent all his time going around the class moving and making sounds like an airplane. When I would teach a new idea he would stop, the airplane would come into land and he would sit mesmerized and lap it all up. When I finished teaching the new materials he would get up and return to flying around the class again. He knew what was new material, it was absolutely clear. Spiral Learning is a much better method than the mastery method. When you teach mastery method, even if it is through different and enjoyable activities, the material is not new and this does not stimulate the children the way new information does. The children want to learn new ideas. They are comfortable with not having complete mastery of all the information from the start. They do not feel that they need to know the information thoroughly before they continue and learn something else. With spiral learning, when the students return to the information the next month or year, they will learn it in a new and different context. They will learn different nuances of the concept and they will gain an even richer understanding of the language. For example, what is the word ‘train’? To a toddler, the word simply refers to a ‘choo-choo train’ but as the child grows and learns, the word takes on additional meanings and what might come to mind is long back of a wedding gown, a ‘wedding dress train.’ The word ‘train’ can also be used as a verb – to teach, or ‘train’ someone. There is also the concept of a ‘train of thought’ and so on…. So, with each stage of development, when the child learns the word ‘train’ in a different context, he understands that the meaning can have many different nuances. If spiral learning is a natural way of learning, then why is the mastery method still used so much? The truth is, some teachers and parents prefer the mastery method. They believe the right way is to teach the child until they fully know whatever is being taught and will teach it again and again through different activities and different approaches but won’t move on until they know it. The reality is, the child won’t remember all that was taught and will often forget much of what they have learned when the information is stuffed into them. Now, in truth, the mastery method can be a more satisfying way of teaching, it is much easier. With the spiral learning method, you really have to plan your curriculum and you have to know where you are going and plan ahead for the different stages that an idea is introduced. Many teachers don’t have such well-planned curriculums. When kids start learning with the Helen Doron programme we know what they are going to learn at 3 months old, the week after, the month after, at one year, five years and even 15 years on. We have a very strong curriculum built on spiral learning. I have worked with experts in education and child development to create a scientific and researched curriculum. The beauty of it is, the kids don’t know the technicalities, they are just having fun learning. So, while it is more challenging to teach this way because of the thought and planning required, I believe that this natural way of learning is more satisfying. It takes into account that learning naturally is fun, engaging, and is an anecdote to boredom. There is an old story where the teacher leaves the classroom and enters the teachers lounge. When asked by another teacher, what did your class learn today, he replied, ‘I know what I taught them but I don’t know what they have learned.’ It is sad but this is how much education is taught worldwide. It is defunct but parents will sign them up for this type of class because it is how they learnt and in their minds, this is the correct way. It is not logical for the child’s mind even if it is for the parents. The child will not enjoy it and the parent may not recognize that this is not how a child naturally learns. They need to get comfortable with the idea that the child will learn and will retain the information. Young children’s minds must be allowed to grow and develop confidently and not worry about exactly how much they know but to rejoice in the learning process itself.

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Spiral Learning – A Successful Approach to Learning for Your Child

More than 2 million children have learnt English through the Helen Doron methodology. What is the secret to your success? How does the method work? There are many features of the methodology that contribute to its success, let’s focus now on the concept of spiral learning. Spiral learning is a relatively new concept in education. Rather than trying to master a subject all at once, spiral learning teaches a concept gradually and repeatedly, reinforcing concepts over time. The idea is that each time a student encounters the topic; the student expands their knowledge or improves their skill level. It is a very natural process. How is spiral learning a natural process? Think about how you taught your baby. Did you bring him into the kitchen and say, “We are going to sit here until you learn all the utensils—spoon, cup, fork, table and so on.” I imagine you did not do this and rather, taught him through the process of active participation. ‘Here is your cup. What is in your cup? Ooh, yes you have juice in the cup. Would you like a spoon to put into your cup? And so on…’ What you are doing is using the language and you are repeating the word and using sentences to emphasize the words and ideas you are trying to get across. It is an expected way of learning. Nobody has sat down in the garden with their young child and said, “Alright we are going to learn everything about the garden and won’t go back inside until you have mastered the information. “It’s not a natural way to learn, it’s not how we do things. We learn information in context and we learn it over time and it’s an intuitive way of learning. My method teaches 70% familiar content and 30% new ideas because children need to be introduced to the new, even if they don’t yet know the old thoroughly. It is essential to remember that children are constantly growing and changing, even from week to week. A child one week is completely different from the next week and for sure, when there is a month between reintroducing ideas, there can be a whole universe between how the child grasps information and processes what he is learning. Back in the 1980s, when I first began teaching English, we had just produced, the English For All Children programme. Book 2 taught parts of the body and I had a feeling that one of my group of 3 to 5 year olds wasn’t ‘getting it’. I felt they didn’t know the information well enough, so I decided to teach the didactic things that I knew that everyone else taught, even though it wasn’t my teaching methodology or philosophy to do so. I decided that the class would learn the parts of the body, I had a full arsenal of activities, and games— from bingo to lotto to memory game to movement, hide, and seek. We came out of that lesson and I said to the class, “That’s it! You know all the parts of the body. You are brilliant! You can say shoulders, knees, toes and more. You can do all the things, I so proud of you.” To my amazement, the kids responded, “But we didn’t learn anything.” In astonishment I replied, “What do you mean we didn’t learn anything? We just spent ¾ of an hour learning the parts of the body and you know them really well.” They answered, “yes but we didn’t learn anything.” I suddenly realized they meant that they had not learnt anything new. The students expected to learn something new. It isn’t that they expected to fully master a new concept. They might not pronounce the word properly 100 of the time but they were satisfied and knew that they would return to the idea again in the following weeks. Bit by bit, the knowledge would become firmly entrenched. It’s a little bit like the story of dying the cloth. When you dye a cloth in India, you will take the cloth, dip it into the colour, put it in the sun to dry, it fades, and then you re-dye until it is fast. Spiral learning is exactly like that. The children are exposed to something, they go out, they forget a bit of it, they return, learn it again and the process continues until they really know it, effortlessly.

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Are Your Food Choices Slowing Down Your Child?

To state that balanced nutrition is essential for proper child development seems obvious enough in itself, yet worldwide, parents are not caring enough for their child’s IQ, EQ and motor development simply by not providing the correct nutrition to their children – even though they can afford to. Paradoxically, many children in developed countries are undernourished because of a lack of correct nutrition due to a diet based on fast foods, high in sugar, salt and bad fats. We are pleased to bring you a weekly series of blog posts and an opportunity to learn from educator and linguistic scientist, Helen Doron. Helen has been teaching English to children for 30 years. She is the founder and CEO of the Helen Doron Educational Group and created a unique methodology for teaching English, maths, fitness, and infant development with original and revolutionary learning materials. This week’s question: How does nutrition affect brain development and learning? Helen responds: Obvious, No? A nutrient-rich diet is essential for children to develop optimal brain function. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health followed the dietary patterns of nearly 4,000 children from birth for over eight years. The study found that toddlers who ate a nutrient-rich diet full of fruits and vegetables had higher IQ scores when they reached 8 years of age compared to the toddlers who consumed processed foods full of fat and sugar. The foods that the toddlers ate had a dramatic long term effect on their brain function. Nutrition plays an important role in brain development during all stages of childhood. Whereas the brain grows fastest in the first few years of life, it continues to develop throughout adolescence. So it is important that children of all ages consume a high nutrient diet to ensure adequate brain development. Beginning with Breastfeeding Breastfeeding mothers who themselves eat a high nutrient diet pass on those nutrients to their children, improving their children’s cognitive development and overall health. In fact mothers who take care of their own nutrition, fitness and wellbeing during pregnancy are already giving their unborn children a head start in life. Children who are breastfed for at least six months have higher IQ scores than children who are raised on formula. A greater proportion of an infant’s diet made up of breast milk also correlates to greater brain volume in adolescence. This is due in part to the DHA content of breast milk, since DHA is a major component of brain cell membranes. Breast milk is not only an important source of DHA, but it provides many other essential nutrients for the developing brain, as well as promoting the health of the immune and respiratory systems and supporting overall childhood health.  Upon the introduction of solid foods, greater consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with higher IQ and better memory skills when children reach 4 years of age.  In school-age children, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as increased cholesterol intake have been linked to diminished intelligence and poor academic performance. Eat the Rainbow As a rule of thumb we can use the “five to nine” guide of fruits and vegetables consumed each day. This means children should be eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day. If you fill half of your child’s dinner plate with vegetables for instance, this will help them consume the correct amount. Use fruits as snacks instead of sweets or cookies. This will prevent insulin resistance Children may prefer fruits to vegetables because of the fructose sugar they contain but don’t give up on the veggies. The more the better and the more colours you include the better as each food colour provides a wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Antioxidants for Brain Power Children who eat a nutrient-dense diet are providing their brains with supplementary antioxidant support. The brain uses the most oxygen and produces most energy of any part of body, and thus it is highly susceptible to oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress is inflammation caused by uncontrolled free radicals.  Free radicals can propagate throughout the cell, damaging the cell and even lead to cell death. Cells have their own antioxidant defence enzymes to process the free radicals, but they are not 100% efficient and we must use dietary antioxidants to process the rest. The brain’s antioxidant defences becoming overwhelmed is one of the main mechanisms of brain aging, and this has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s andAlzheimer’s. A healthy, antioxidant rich diet is especially beneficial for the brain and is likely involved in the association between plant food consumption and higher IQ scores. Omega-3 Fatty Acids – The “Good” Fats Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that your body requires from the food you eat. These fats are found in a number of nuts, seeds and vegetables. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain; this indicates that they are important for healthy cognitive and memory function as well as behaviour. These fats are also essential for brain development, growth and function. It is important for pregnant women to get sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids through the diet for healthy nerve and vision development in the baby. Why is Refined Sugar a no-no? Eating excess refined sugar can lead to insulin resistance. This means that the body is not able to efficiently use the hormone insulin to transport sugar or glucose from the blood to the tissues where it can be converted into energy. Insulin resistance can lead to damaged brain cells. This occurs because the brain requires high amounts of glucose to function and becomes deprived of nutrients if the body cannot use insulin properly. Eating more complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruit rather than sugary or starchy processed foods can help balance blood sugar levels for healthier brain development and function. Processed snack foods are marketed heavily to children and creative presentation and display of fruits and vegetables will enhance kid’s enjoyment of

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Your Child’s Self Confidence: Handle with Care!

Positive reinforcement gives everyone, adult or child a good feeling—it boosts self-confidence; it helps form a child’s self-image. If a child has grown up in a very critical home environment, this criticism, in the vast majority of children will have a damaged self-image. And it’s for life…. We are pleased to bring you a series of blog posts and an opportunity to learn from educator and linguistic scientist, Helen Doron. Helen has been teaching English to children for 30 years. She is the founder and CEO of the Helen Doron Educational Group and created a unique methodology for teaching English, maths, fitness, and infant development with original and revolutionary learning materials. This week’s question:If I give my child positive reinforcement when he or she is doing something wrong, aren’t I reinforcing it? Helen responds: Self-esteem developed in childhood can last a lifetime Well it depends what you mean by ‘wrong’. First of all, positive reinforcement is when somebody says, “well done” or “you did that well” or “I like what you are doing”. Positive reinforcement gives everyone, adult or child a good feeling—it boosts self-confidence; it helps form a child’s self-image. If a child has grown up in a very critical home environment, this criticism, in the vast majority of children will have a damaged self-image. And it’s for life. This attack on their self-image stays with them for life, or until the time they can buy self-help books or meet with a psychologist. Even then, it’s exceedingly difficult to rebuild an image that is as good as if they had been brought up in a positive atmosphere in which they feel approved of.  If people don’t feel approved of, they feel that they have to hide parts of themselves, parts of their personality or their identity or the way they interact. Research shows that when people don’t feel “good enough” they will underachieve because they feel that they aren’t good enough. A small minority of children, will get on despite everything, because they have somehow an inner strength that propels them forward. But it’s extremely rare. It’s important that at a very young age, a child is approved of. Really it’s important for all of us to feel approval. You, as an adult, if you are walking about the house singing and someone says to you, “Oh be quiet! Have you ever heard yourself?” you are likely to not walk around singing to yourself or to anyone else because someone has just told you that you do something really badly and they just don’t like it. Or, in contrast to this; if you are walking around the house singing and someone joins in with you or says, “What a lovely voice you have,” you will think to yourself, “Oh I did that really well.” Positive reinforcement when a child is small, makes or breaks him With a child, when you show your approval and say, “WOW, great!” your child understands from either your tone or your words, that you approve. Whether he is a week old, or a month old or a year or ten years old, the child responds to approval.  Dr Glenn Doman of the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential (IAHP) sees the tremendous impact that reinforcement can have on children. Families from around the world come to the IAHP for its pioneering work in child brain development and programmes to help brain-injured children. One of the earliest developmental assessment tasks IAHP has the child do is to grasp an overhead bar. One set of parents lifts the child up and he is able to grasp the bars very briefly – less than a second. The parents say, “Oh honey….oh dear.” That statement means, “We had to beg, borrow and steal to come to this programme and that is the best that you can do?” Contrast this with another set of parents that hold the child up to the same bar for the same fraction of a second grasp but those parents say, “Well done! You did that really well!” That statement implies, “You did that well! Who could believe that a brain-damaged child could hold on for that long; we love you!” The child takes in this information and thinks to himself, “Okay, well I’ll do that again!” The implications are enormous. The Power to Redirect Positive reinforcement is normally a natural response from parents towards their children but it’s actually a technique that can be used by parents and by teachers, whatever the age of the child to reinforce good behaviour or a course of action that you want your child to direct his attentions towards. So, what do we do when the child is doing something wrong? In one of our classes for example, wrong could have two meanings. Wrong could mean the child is pushing another child around. This is bullying, violence and then we don’t say, “Well done,” we say,” That’s not the way to behave and we will not accept you doing that again,” and then we show the child the right way, and explain the correct behaviour. We then ask the child, “Do you understand?” and the child answers “yes” and then we are able to respond, “Well done!” and reinforce positive behaviour. That is the moment when there is approval for the right behaviour that you offer the positive reinforcement. Another example following the same principle: the child is shown a picture of a mouse but the child answers “cat”. The teacher should answer, “It’s a mouse.” Then, the child responds, “mouse”, and the teacher should say, “Yes, it’s a mouse! Well done.” The child has forgotten he answered incorrectly and you have reinforced the correct answer and offered positive reinforcement. So either wrong response, inappropriate behaviour or incorrect response, we show them the right way. We get their agreement, we tell them well done when they respond and we remind them every so often to keep the child on track. Children hear the positive first I was sitting with a man a few years ago and he

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Breaking Through The Barriers to Speaking English Fluently

Helen Doron has been teaching English to children for 30 years. She is the founder and CEO of the Helen Doron Educational Group and created a unique methodology for teaching English, maths, fitness, and infant development with original and revolutionary learning materials. Helen answers this week’s question: Many children learn English most of their lives but still can’t speak fluently. How can the Helen Doron methodology help them? I know that all parents are very eager to give a better present and future to their children and they are correct in believing that introducing a second language early on is not only possible, but it actually benefits the child’s brain development. Our thirty years of experience is backed by research that supports thisunderstanding. The reality is that most children begin learning English as a foreign language when they are in school. They learn reading and writing and because of class sizes, there isn’t the opportunity for lots of practice speaking. Often, they are spoken at but they don’t actually have to respond. Sometimes the reading and the writing skills take precedence over the ability to speak. Sometimes parents will turn to private tutoring that work with their children one on one. While the children are most likely absorbing the language and may very well end up speaking to a certain degree, they do not have the benefit of a proven methodology that ensures they will speak. The Helen Doron methodology introduces four basic principles that contribute to the child’s ability to speak. Experience has shown that when language is taught in a small group environment with background hearing, positive reinforcement and innovative games, the child learns effortlessly. Language Needs a Context Children need a context in which to speak a language; the environment must be conducive and provide a sense of support and structure in which language learning can develop. Many children, who are bilingual won’t speak back to their English-speaking mother or father; they will use their mother-tongue language. If the children do understand what the English speaking parent is saying why do they need to use their native language? The answer is that language needs to be learned within a social and a linguistic context and is best learned in its natural form: through discussions, conversations and stories. We create a context for language in our classes. We start very early and the classes are small groups of 4 to 8 students at most, which are great fun for the children. Children have the benefit of interaction with other children and still receive individual attention from the teacher. The teacher can actually hear them speak and respond to them. But we also create games and activities in which the children need to use English in order to get what they want. To participate in the activity; they actually have to produce language. Of course, the level or response depends upon the age of the child. If they are very young, aged 2, we are not going to require them to speak, but if they are aged 4, 5 or 6 we are going to use those games and really encourage them to communicate. We never single them out and pressure the children; ‘YOU! What’s the answer to this?’ We don’t do that. We don’t point a finger at them and demand an answer which can be frightening or intimidating. When it’s a game the children don’t even realize that they are learning. The way we present language through a game or activity encourages the children to speak. English becomes fun; it’s not daunting. These games, along with positive reinforcement, are two pieces of our methodology for teaching English which bring out the language spontaneously. For more information, read about the Helen Doron methodology.

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Helen Doron Turkey Launches Bilingual Kindergartens

With nearly 30 years of global experience in English as a second language (ESL) programmes, the Helen Doron Educational Group recently licensed Helen Doron English enrichment kindergartens to Turkish Master Franchisors. The school year in Turkey opened this year with 10 Helen Doron English enrichment kindergartens teaching the Helen Doron English method, with an additional 10 schools opening soon. The curriculum was specially designed by the educational franchise’s in-house pedagogic teams, external early childhood education experts and Helen Doron herself, to create quality, fun, stress-free programmes. The Helen Doron Kindergarten curriculum is based on the development of pre-schoolers’ brain, body and soul and the connections between them. In addition to English lessons, the curriculum also includes: reading and writing, storytelling (literacy), mathematics and logical games, science, arts and crafts, multilingual music, and a major emphasis on social skills, physical activity and fitness & motor skills; all based on the special Helen Doron methodology. Due to enthusiastic demand from parents, 200 more combination morning kindergartens and afternoon learning centres are planned to open within the next 4 years. Fatih Omar Dericioglu, Helen Doron English Master Franchisor in Erken Yasta,, explained why Helen Doron English answers an educational need in his country. “Turkey is a huge country with a population of 80 million people, yet there is very little in the way of English instruction for children, so this is a perfect opportunity. For children under the age of 7, in the pre-school market, the need is acute. That’s why 75% of our students are under the age of 5.” Dericioglu elaborated on how the afternoon programmes evolved into a comprehensive kindergarten curriculum, “We introduced Helen Doron English 4 years ago in Turkey and it was so successful that we decided to branch out and open comprehensive English enrichment bilingual kindergartens in addition to the early English programmes. This idea stemmed from parent feedback, as they were so pleased with the teachers, methodology, materials and impressive results, that they wanted their children to spend more time in a Helen Doron environment. We listened to the parents, and realizing the potential, opened all-day kindergartens that are now being used as Learning Centres after school hours and even during weekends, increasing income opportunities for our franchisees. Our Learning Centres are open 7 days a week, 11 hours a day.” Historically, there is a general belief in Turkey that children must master their mother tongue before attempting to learn a second language. “We know that’s incorrect, so a lot of what we do is to educate the educators about the many benefits of bilingualism.” Recent research from all over the world confirms that children have the capacity and ability to learn more than one language and that learning a second language as early as possible is overwhelmingly beneficial. Being bilingual actually has social and emotional benefits, and bilingual babies become smarter children and adults. “It is well-known that our language teachers are the best-trained in the country. Not every English-speaker can become a Helen Doron teacher and that really shows in the quality of their teaching and how well children learn.” “Our growth has been even better than expected, as Turkish parents are eager to invest in their children’s future.” Mr Dericioglu concluded. “Parents are so proud when they hear their children speaking English. That is our best advertisement, as they tell everyone about it.” Find out more about Helen Doron kindergartens

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