Operation Leapfrog

A proposed program of volunteer training to uplift the lifetime prospects of all children who are inadequately served by their local schools

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.
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Here are the four parts of the proposed program, once a cadre of volunteers has been established and trained in any area:

A. High School Thinktanks

High-school-aged children are organized into local thinktanks, as an extracurricular activity within the schools where possible, and in the neighborhood by ad hoc arrangement where not. These thinktanks are to be taught and exercised in a battery of several different problem-solving methods and unleashed onto their own problems and the problems of their school, their neighborhood, their community.

  1. Can find as much basis for a problems-solving/skills club as for a chess club or a French or Home-Ec extracurricular school activity.
  2. Should be several basically different sets of problem-solving method, not only to heighten skill and prospective success levels, but because some children will respond to one type better than another, and because each type of method can be used as back-up to the others, heightening the probability of answer-finding success with almost any problem or question.
  3. The clubs can also provide a convenient forum wherein to teach the children the more powerful of the accelerated learning methods, especially those which develop quality understanding in the subjects or skills taught and which develop creative command of such topics.
  4. The clubs can provide an organizational convenience and recruiting-ground wherein to find volunteers for tutoring in other phases of the program, and for aspects of ongoing supervising in those other phases.

B. A Program of Tutors for School-Age Children

Organize a cadre of literal and metaphoric “grandparents,” and of “elder brothers and sisters” for school-aged children in and out of school.

The aim would be to take every participating child to beyond university levels of performance, no matter what his or her starting conditions, before they graduate high school, and with or without the cooperation of the local schools. Most of the tutors would be themselves learning. Nothing spurs a child onto further learning more than does his outstripping a parent, teacher or tutor in the same subject. Pains must be taken to identify these as “acceleration” tutors or some special positive-aim category, rather than as regular tutors making up for deficits in the learner. And one aim in the program, as in its pre-school counterpart, is to find opportunities to let the child be seen — by peers, by parents and family, by neighbors — being competent with his tutor. That is as important to building long-term advantage as is any subject taught.

C. A Program of Tutors for Pre-Schoolers

Develop a group of literal and metaphoric “grandparents,” and especially of “elder brothers and sisters,” for families and pre-school children down to less than a year in age. For each child in the program, feature these objectives:

  1. Start every child into reading as young as possible. Develop a battery of varied “game” methods centered on Glenn Doman’s How To Teach Your Baby to Read. (It is anticipated that this will need to be done without the cooperation of the schools, if not their active opposition to that and to the next objective.) Aim to have every child reading at sixth grade levels or higher by the time he or she enters school, whether or not the schools find this inconvenient or unsettling to work with. Continue to provide educational and emotional support to the child once in school, and aim to draw upon program support for gifted children which is supposed to be available in nearly every state. (By this time each child in the program will, almost without exception, qualify for such programs.)
  2. Start every child into mathematical sensing and perceiving as young as possible, with a battery of methods centered on Glenn Doman’s Teach Your Baby Math. Defer arithmetical operations until after the perceptions are built, but well before school have each child, if possible, performing recreationally on computer games and gadgets (several acceptable ones of which are long since on the market) which feature arithmetical computations. Assemble a body of “fast-math” methods and convey these to participating children who have gone on into schools. Most schools are at their poorest in the teaching of math and science; it will be crucial to develop an ongoing support for participating children in these areas once their relevant perceptions have started to flower.
    Recent years have indicated that in terms of mathematics, people (and children) are mainly divided into cognitive — or understanding — and concrete operational — or arithmetic computational — types and preferred modes of operating. Support must be provided to both types, and especially to the cognitive, understanding type of students, because nearly all school-level math teachers are concrete operational and don’t understand or support the cognitive or understanding-based child.
  3. Develop home and local neighborhood environments which are not only neurologically stimulating but especially are responsive to the child. Also a feature in the training of tutors:  that the tutors accomplish as much as possible of their transactions with the child in terms of responding to the child’s outputs, rather than simply instructing or stimulating the child.

D. Teen Transcribers

It is proposed that a program of mostly volunteer teenagers be engaged in a project to record and transcribe the memoirs of the elderly in their community:  a transaction of inestimably high value to both sides in that exchange.

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