Wednesday, 24 January 2007

The Precocious Child

precocious adj.
Manifesting or characterized by unusually early development or maturity, especially in mental aptitude.

The Precocious Child
All children are "precocious" - in the sense that they exhibit the natural genius of the human brain. For example, children with mental handicap such as Autism or even Down Syndrome can be endowed with special aptitudes and abilities such as - being able to play concert piano.

But those children that we truly consider "precocious" are often those whose mental aptitude is not limited to one particular skill or ability but imbues their whole sense of being. Often these children will succeed in a variety of fields. Something which can be attributed to their enthusiasm and openness to new ideas and learning. Although learning is a life long process, there are windows in our development in which things will be easier to learn (Jensen, Eric. Brain - Based Learning, 1997). Our precocious friend is getting the timing right.

One true child prodigy is William Rowan Hamilton, the famous Irish mathematician. He is held to have mastered Latin, Greek and Hebrew by the age of five, and another few years saw him fluent in 13 languages, ancient and modern, European and Asian.

But how does a child become precocious? Is it solely a fluke of genetics? One thing is certain: To observe a precocious child is like observing life living itself. The enthusiasm, delight and curiosity about the world is almost overflowing.

In the book "Bringing up Genius", Lazlo Polgar a chess expert, puts forward the theory that genius can be made, and he demonstrates this by coaching his three daughters to become world class chess players\prodigies - they duly obliged. Although this "genius" is confined to one particular talent that of "chess playing" ( and so doesn't conform to our definition of precociousness as a general mental aptitude), there is huge evidence that development of genius in one area such as chess can have massive spin-off and cumulative effects on other areas of mental aptitude.

Interestingly, Lazlo observes that it was the daughter with the most ambition and drive not the daughter with the most talent that was the most successful.

Our protagonist Lydia in this blog is a precocious child in the following senses; she is brimming with enthusiasm, curiosity and natural aptitude, her genius is being carefully cultivated by perfect mentoring. She has started young.

The study mentor says:
1. You can make yourself a genius in at least something but a MENTOR will help
2. Genius in one domain will increase your overall mental aptitude.
3. The early you start the better - so start now!
4. Enthusiasm will help generate precociousness.
5. Tenacity and persistence are often the determining factors.