When speaking of “intelligence,” most people only think of academic aptitude, such as readiness towards schoolwork or getting high grades. Thus, parents say their child is “smart” when he or she lands the top of their class. But with the advent of ‘multiple intelligence’ – the simplistic definition of intelligence no longer holds. Now more people are realizing that true intelligence covers a broader spectrum of an individual’s capabilities.
A new context of ‘smart’
The concept of Multiple Intelligence was first introduced by Dr. Howard Gardner, an educational psychologist at Harvard University who explored the topic in his book Frames Of Mind. Dia Kagaoan, psychologist, licensed teacher, entrepreneur and SPED educator, trained under Dr. Gardner himself when the latter came to the Philippines in 1985. Dia explains that according to Gardner’s theory, there are multiple ways that a child can be smart, and to date has listed nine categories of intelligence. “From the standpoint of early childhood development, the most relevant types on this list can be narrowed down to three: Brain Smart, People Smart, Body Smart,” she says.
Dia says a child has the capacity to achieve holistic development if provided with suitable instruction, encouragement, and nutrition.
Not settling for one
From an early age, Margaret Maraña has exhibited a predisposition towards advanced development. She mastered the concept of numbers up to the thousands at the tender age of 3. In less than ten days, she was able to memorize the multiplication table at the rate of one table a day. She loved poetry and story books. By age 5, she could easily point out places like Pretoria or the tiny Pacific and Atlantic islands on the world map. She was also a competent dancer who responded well to choreography. Today, aged 6, she handles academic material two levels advanced.
But it turns out Margaret had another strength which will actually lead to further developing her other smarts. Early on, her mother Lila noticed that her daughter had the ability to hold people enthralled. “She actually developed conversational speech late. What I didn’t get was how she was able to make friends so easily without saying a single word.” Everywhere they went, Margaret would always come away with two to four new friends. Once, at the beach, Lila was shocked to discover upon returning to their cottage after a brief errand, that everyone in the vicinity already knew Margaret by name. “I saw her playing in the sand with kids I hadn’t met. Some people were assisting her and buying a cone of ice cream for her. I don’t know how she does it.”
Lila observed that as Margaret became more sociable, she participated more actively in her dance classes showing more confidence with the way she moves. It was also mentioned to her that Margaret had become more participative in class. As a mother, Lila came to realize that developing one smart can help enhance other smarts and with this, she continuously makes an extra effort to further support her child’s growth.
As a motivated mom, Lila shares that she truly invests a lot in Margaret’s overall development – she gives her only the best. She enrolled her child in the one of the best schools in the metro and even got her child involved in different extra curricular activities during the weekends. “When I saw that Margaret showed interest in dancing, I enrolled her to one of the top dance class studio recommended by my mommy-friends.” To add, Lila admits that when it comes to purchasing products for her child, she is the type to always go for the superior quality products especially if recommended by credible personalities that she looks up to. “I make decisions thinking that I have to make sure that my child becomes her best. And the way I see it, the more I invest in superior quality things, the more returns both my and my child get.”
A valuable player
Dia’s first son, Jiad Arroyo, showed a predisposition towards physical activities early on. “He was always running outdoors and moving around. At 5 or 6, he was already insisting on playing basketball with the adults.” Once when he was 4, Jiad jumped into the deep end of the pool and failed to surface that his aunt had to pull him out. “While most kids would be upset and crying, Jiad’s response was: ‘Why did you pull me out? I was already swimming my way up!’”
To provide an outlet for this unlimited energy, Jiad’s parents bought him a bicycle. While other kids his age drove precariously on trainers, Jiad had his uncles remove the training wheels and rode his bike with such gusto that his mom had to cut socks into tubes to make him elbow and knee pads to protect him from the rough and tumble. As he got older Jiad qualified on a baseball team based in Alabang. Later he also tried Taekwondo, and won gold medals for his efforts. Eventually, Jiad got a scholarship as a basketball athlete.
With an athletic scholarship, Dia told her son that as she supports him in his journey as an athlete, he should not forget that he is a student first before an athlete thus he should put as much effort in his academics as he is honing his skills in different sports. “Jiad used the discipline he learned in sports to perform better academically.”
“His friendliness and easy going attitude got him a lot of influential friends. His coaches and sponsors were always opening new opportunities for him because they liked him. As a supportive mom, I would always remind him that opportunities and blessings will keep on coming as long as he values them and as long as he is consistently good in school as he is good inside and outside the court.”
Harness the power of multiple intelligence
According to the theory of Multiple Intelligence, genetics, culture, and how the child is raised influence intelligence. Dia says, “Good nutrition is vital to the holistic development of the child.”
Lila couldn’t agree more. “I don’t believe a person’s success is dependent on good grades. That’s just one part of it. All the other intelligences – like the way they respond to people or using their bodies to communicate competence are all equally important.” One of her commitments is making sure that her daughter limits junk food intake, eats more fruit, greens and protein, and drinks the right milk. “Our pediatrician only recommended Progress Preschool Gold. At first I had thought that all milk formulas were the same – I was wrong.”
The new Progress Preschool Gold now comes with its best ever Gold Biofactors System (vs previous formulations) that comprises higher DHA, Lutein and choline- to help build a child’s multiple intelligence. For Dia, whose kids, including Jiad, were also raised on Wyeth milk products, educating parents on the role good nutrition has in making a child ready for multiple intelligence is very important.
“We should train up a child in the way he should go,” Dia says. “And if you are a smart mom, you should know that with a competitive environment, it is best to support a child’s multiple intelligence because if your child excels in all smarts, then he will always be steps ahead from the rest.”
About Wyeth Nutrition
Wyeth Nutrition, formerly Pfizer Nutrition, is part of Nestlé S.A. Wyeth Nutrition develops premium-quality nutritional products scientifically-designed to meet the needs of infants and young children, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers. As pioneers in infant nutritional science, our mission is to provide the best nutritional support for future healthy outcomes. For nearly a century, Wyeth Nutrition has leveraged clinical rigor, scientific research, world class manufacturing and product safety standards to drive scientifically-sound solutions that offer parents confidence, help nourish children and support their healthy futures.