28 January, 2017

Radio Interview

Interview conducted at Radio Mataro, Barcelona, Spain. Duration: 8 min. Our CEO, David Ruana, responded to the questions asked by the usual talk show guests of the program.

NOTE: This video contains fragments in Spanish and Catalan. Please find the full transcript in English below.

 

Full transcript in English

Interviewer:
I wanted to ask you, how have these results been measured? With children so young, you act on them, and how do you measure the effectiveness of these results?

Neuronita:
This is a work of many years, and IQ tests are not the same as the ones that are run on adults. An adult can understand the question and can answer you accordingly. However, you need to know how to ask a child and then measure their response. It is also part of neuroscience studies; not only evaluating the development of children, how we modify their neuronal structures, but also knowing how to interpret them. Knowing how to interpret whether more neuronal connections have been created, whether that means more intelligence or not. And all these are tests that are performed as part of this research.

Interviewer:
And have you checked with these children that you have submitted to this experiment, that the results are indeed positive? That they give a more positive evolution?

Neuronita:
Yes. The research, as it was done in the framework of a university and very rigorous, is how investigations are usually done: a control group is placed to which the methodology is not applied and it is compared with another group to which methodology is applied. It is convenient that the group be heterogeneous in the same proportion, of boys and girls… in fact it is done in the same school so that there is no social difference of the zone, nor can there be other factors that influence. Then look at the two classrooms as they evolve. It takes a few years to see evolution, and many more years if you want to see the impact it has on adulthood. We fortunately have in our team an eminence in the world of neurosciences who has spent a lifetime dedicated to it, and has done research in hundreds of schools throughout his life, and has been able to keep track of the first schools with which he started.

Interviewer:
And what would you need? What is the most important obstacle with which you find yourselves to spread your project?

Neuronita:
The first obstacle is that the education system accepts you, accept the new proposal you make. Because there are new proposals every year, or every X years, so schools already have all the time occupied. The weekly activities grid is already organized. You have to convince them to get something out of what they are doing now, because everything takes time, and that they dedicate one or two hours a week to these activities that we propose. In fact, we are not asking for much time, but they have to get it out.

Interviewer:
What are these activities? Because I want to include it in the program of our school, but I still do not know very well what it is that you do.

Neuronita:
At the age of 0-3 years, some people believe that children should be digitized, while others do not. The educational system is divided on this issue. Where they do agree, it is that we must introduce logical-mathematical thinking in these ages, more than is being done now. That is, you do not have to put a tablet necessarily, but you have to put activities that make children think. And logical reasoning more complex than what is being done now. Of course, do not stop doing psychomotricity, do not stop doing things that have to do with their emotions, emotional play, group membership. All of these are things that must be continued. We have introduced 82 activities. They are highly tested, have undergone a process of refinement for many years. We have been taking those that were less effective, incorporating new ones. We need all children to do these activities. There are educational centers that you see that have these activities in a drawer and let the children freely catch them if they are attracted by them, if not, no. We have to put them in front of the children and tell them to do it.

Interviewer:
And your action has a certain time? Does it last the full academic year? With regards to the school that believes in you, what implication does it require?

Neuronita:
It has to be done throughout the academic year. We are saying that, dedicating between one and two hours a week, gives time to introduce 1 of these activities. 1 per week. It must be a constant evolution; the next week we must do another, and the other, another. You can not leave … “this week we will not do it,” because if not, you run out of time and you have not done them all. At a rate of 1 per week is correct. And we also turn to parents who educate children at home, because at this age of 0-3 not everyone takes the children to school. It is even more important for parents, since they do not have the training of preschool teachers. No matter how goodwill they put in it, by ignorance, they will not be proposing to the child to do these activities. Our educational guide has been written in a very plain language so that everyone can understand it. The parents will understand perfectly and the children will go through the same process.

Interviewer:
To what extent are you implemented? Are you doing it in Barcelona, ​​in Catalonia, in Spain or in the World?

Neuronita:
The method is implemented in more than 2000 schools in North and South America. These are the countries we have been working on so far. I must say, with respect to neuroscience studies, that here in Europe is a subject that we do not get too well. So far it has not been a major focus of neuroscience studies. In the 1980s the main focus was on Russia, in the former USSR. Then the focus moved to North America where it was almost until the year 2000. And we are making a bet. We have as said in the team a scientist who has gone through the previous study centres. He was in the USSR working for many years in universities there, he was later in North America, and now we have brought him here to Europe. We must take advantage of the fact that we have a person so recognized in the world of neurosciences, that gives speeches around the world annually. We have set up a technical team around all this and we are making a mixture of science and technology.

Interviewer:
You are carrying forward an idea, a concept, a leading trend. At the present point, have you managed to find a small gap to fit this somewhere and already be implementing it completely?

Neuronita:
So far we have been implementing it through consulting. More than 2000 schools are doing these activities, it is true, but it entails a consulting job. The school has to call you, you have to go there, set up a face-to-face course. This is how it has been done in the traditional way. The innovation consists in turning this into a product that is put on the internet and that anyone has it globally accessible. There are no consultancies any more, no one is displaced to give a course to educators. Now is an educational guide in a PDF file, very easy to read, accompanied by a series of tutorials on YouTube. And now we have an App. It is not mandatory, but the App has many benefits, because the child can do the same challenge in a thousand different ways.

Interviewer:
I have a question, as a recent mother. Would you recommend me, for a 9-month-old, to start this? What benefits would my 9-month-old son have?

Neuronita:
I would say yes, 9 months is the ideal age to start. The first objects, handled physically, let’s say the first boxes, dice, cubes… handling this kind of thing, now! From 9 months of age is ideal.