Apr 17, 2009


We are always told to teach Aryaa Nepali (and some English too) by family members in Nepal. They worry that if not done so, it will be difficult for her in school after we go back to Nepal. So two books were sent from home.

She is not yet old enough to start learning to read and write. She enjoys the pictures and asks us about them. Children become familiar with shapes, colors, animals, vegetables etc. at this age. So those books were helpful to make her familiar with Nepali and English words for them. She may not remember all but becoming even a little familiar now will be of use for her later.

In both of these books, a (similar) page is dedicated for Colors. Aryaa enjoyed this colorful page. But this page started giving problems, Aryaa started to call "Yellow" whenever she saw a triangle and "Green" whenever she saw a star shape. This page is intended for teaching different colors to a child but the figures come in different shapes too. So there are two things which attract a child's attention, color and shape. Aryaa seems to be attracted towards shape and not towards color. The writers/publishers may have thought that different colors with different shapes might be more attractive to children but that approach seems wrong. While writing such books, one should be very careful about the psychology and the learning process of children.

If a child is to be taught about different colors, he/she should be shown those colors through the same shape. Similarly, if different shapes are to be taught, those shapes should be in the same color.

One of the picture books she got from her kindergarten is intended for the same purpose, introducing different colors to a child. It is called IRO IRO BOUSHI (So many caps). It uses only one shape, cap, as shown in the picture below. So there is no confusion here.

So we now don't show her the 'confusing' page. I am even thinking of writing a letter to the publisher about this (e-mail address is not provided).


Neeti Aryal Khanal said...

how old is arya? my son will be three this may. He loves learning colors. I also have this Nepali vs. English dillema, with you its triple. But I read it somewhere that children are so good in learning languages. I guess, Aryaa will be trilingual in no time.

liked the idea of teaching colors with shape. I have not found that kind of book yet.

Happy parenting

Basanta Gautam said...

Thank you Neetijee! Aryaa turned 3 from last month.

It is true that kids learn (and forget too) any language fast. Our problem is that she spends more time with Japanese kids and teachers than us. We have seen other kids learning Nepali very fast after being in Nepal, so we aren't much worried. If possible, we would like to raise her trilingual but retaining her Japanese skills will not be easy after we go back.

N K M said...

This is striking finding for psychological education.
I am amazed how the kids start relating shape with color.
The learning starts by being able to associate the color and shape with the name. In that sense the book is clearly mis-leading. I wonder if the author/publisher had really done some research before sending the book to the market.

I would also suggest printing some sheets with same shapes (all triangle, circle etc) and making her fill the color. That way we have controlled experiment with shape muted while she would be alerted to the color.


Basanta said...

Thank you Navinjee! It is really amazing to see the learning process of a child. It's far more logical and fast than we adults imagine it to be.

I had thought of contacting the publisher but their e-mail address isn't provided. I will try by regular mail now.

Thank you for your suggestion too! We are doing the same. We sometimes draw many circles (or triangles) and tell her to color them with different colors.

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