Mother Tongue Approach
While studying violin in Germany, Shinichi Suzuki was struck by the fact that German children learned to speak German fluently at their mother's knee. Just as Japanese children absorbed the dialect of the parents, all children in the world learned their native language effortlessly by listening to the adults and children in their environment. This realization led Suzuki to analyze mother tongue learning and apply the same characteristics to the study of music and later all subjects. It includes much listening, repetition, praise and performance. No word is discarded and learning accelerates with practice. Adults must wait for readiness.
Non-stressful approach to learning
“It is never too early to start reading aloud. Your infant or toddler will respond eagerly to the comfort of a familiar lap, and the words and pictures of first books.
…….. If baby is grabbing
at books, give him/her a rattle or soft toy to hold while listening. Keep
the reading time short at first.”
“Play the recording at home at
different times of the day. Dance with your child and let him/her feel
body movement to the beat. If you always dance to the same song, your
child will ask you to dance every time he/she hears it. Small children
love to be bounced, walked and wheeled around the room to music"
Suzuki educators, know that ability is firmly and gradually developed at one level before introducing the next level. An important facet of Suzuki teaching is the “education of Momma”. This does not refer to the "Mother Tongue Approach" but was used by Suzuki to point out the importance of the parents in the process. The thorough mastery of one skill will ensure success as the next skill is introduced. Parents must not hurry the child but allow for confidence before proceeding. Parents and teachers must not "give up". Just as every parent knows that their child will learn and speak their native language fluently, other abilities can be developed.
Success in one task will lead to more success. The earlier a child learns the satisfaction that comes with success, the earlier that child can move on to new skill development in any of the domains. (cognitive, affective kinesthetic)
When parents, teachers and adults around the child are supportive and helpful, when they reward the child with positive feedback for efforts they make and when they show acceptance of the small successes that children have, the environment is nurturing and helpful for growth
Children who play with other children learn from them. All children use their senses for learning and their senses will motivate them to imitate their peers(especially if it looks like fun). They identify readily with children who are a little older and represent a "working" model. They often look to children just a little younger to practise the social skills that they have learned from older children.
Success in any task has some implicit rewards but when the environment provides some social or physical rewards like approval or a hug, the child quickly learns to repeat the effort.
When parents are supportive and actively help children, their accurate feedback helps the process of learning to focus and learning becomes thoroughly mastered. Although a child learns by experience to avoid a hot stove after touching it, the feedback for much learning is more often muted and needs to be supported by an adult.
The social reward of a supportive parent
or adult (or other child) will speed the learning and remove doubt about
what constitutes success in a child's learning experience. No encouragement
negates the fundamental reward of success in any learning experience.
It is possible for the physical environment to provide the reward necessary
but if there is no encouragement from any aspect, the learning is not
It is important for your baby to hear you singing songs and saying rhymes repeatedly. The baby will eventually repeat them too.
This experience helps to lay the foundation for speaking and reading.
Repetition of the familiar is very important for the young child’s emotional and cognitive development. Constant repetition provides more opportunity for this development.
Suzuki Early Childhood Education is the realization of potential through active and reactive participation in the environment. The environment is defined as all that surrounds a child, both before and after birth.