The author of this book has presented a problem using a new perspective, the medical point of view, successfully showing how a child’s everyday activities, especially forgotten games (French skipping, marbles, rotation, hopscotch, pick-up sticks, blind man’s bluff, hide-and-seek, statues, day and night…), as well as conversation, questioning, and curiosity contribute to the systematic and intellectual development of a child. Studies have shown that the number of connections (synapses) in the brain affect the intellectual capabilities of a child. If we stop ignoring that important fact, then we can claim with certainty that parents must assume responsibility and help their child reach their potentials, especially bearing in mind that more than 70% of synapses are formed up to the age of seven. This is important to know, as it clearly lets us know that we need to work more seriously with children before they start school, because only in this way will we not lose valuable time in the child’s development. A number of studies point to the importance of this period, clearly indicating that the time and effort we invest in the education of a child at an early age has a much greater effect than it would later in life.
In the first phase of the Programme, the author emphasises the importance of motor and graphomotor skills, which not only help the children’s physical development, but also their intellectual development. Namely, through these activities, children find the best solutions to overcome obstacles, unconsciously develop their coordination, as well as their sense of space, and thereby increase the number of synapses. In our preschool and school system, games of this type, especially rotation, jumping, and graphomotor skills, are unjustifiably ignored, to the detriment of children and their overall development. Therefore, the author of the book provides very simple and useful motor and graphomotor exercises, which have a stimulating effect on the physical and, according to the latest research, the mental development of a child. The book also provides arguments that show how detrimental it is for a child to excessively watch TV and play video games, through which the parents can get a clear indication on how they can help their children. The second phase shows several levels, ranging from the recognition of abstract concepts to their association and skilful handling through abstract classification, seriation, and association. Most children spontaneously recognise abstract symbols, but lose this interest, because parents do not know how to take them to a higher level, which is exceptionally stimulating for the formation of new synapses. In a new and simple way, the author shows how to shift to the more complex forms of abstract classification and seriation, which is the basis of the development of mathematical/logical intelligence. For this part of the Programme, an exceptional didactic game has even been constructed (NTC puzzle and memory cards).
The third phase deals with the development of functional thinking. Since, according to international tests, our children lag behind when it comes to functional thinking, this part of the Programme is becoming imperative if we want to catch up with the educational systems of other developed countries. One solution to this problem is enigmatic questions (stories), as children solve them with pleasure, thus developing functional thinking. This approach is a novelty in the preschool system of a large number of European countries.
All things considered, here we have an exceptional programme, new and revolutionary in many respects, which has already shown its practical value in several European countries (Serbia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Croatia…).
Review, Ljubomir Kustudić, member of the Board of Directors of Mensa International