The Number Fairy lives in children's imagination, but dream learning is real.
Dreaming about kittens helped me to learn numbers when I was a young child.
Photo credit: https://animalcenter.org/news/kitten-happy-hour
According to Dr. Freud, dreams are our brain's attempt to figure out how to achieve our desires or to understand and face our fears.
After I came across this interesting article on The New York Times blog about a research done at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, I thought about my struggle with learning the numbers when I was a young child.
In this research, a maze was shown to 99 volunteers. They were asked to find their way through the complicated, three-dimensional puzzle as fast as possible. After an hour, half of the volunteers were allowed to sleep and the other half relaxed staying awake.
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The result showed and I quote, "After the resting period, the participants were asked to again tackle the maze. Those who hadn’t napped showed no improvement or did even worse after the break. Nappers who were rested but didn’t report any maze-related dreams did better but showed only marginal improvement.
However, four nappers who reported dreaming about the maze showed a startling improvement, cutting their completion time in half. The difference in scores before and after sleeping was 10 times higher for the maze dreamers than those who hadn’t dreamed about the task."
This article triggered the memory of my struggle with numbers when I was very young. My parents tried to make me understand the numbers by making me count on my fingers, count toys, pebbles, and used every visual aid they could think of but I still couldn't understand the numbers until I had a dream.
I still remember my short dream clearly. In my dream, I kept moving the kittens in and out of their bed and I kept counting: two kittens are out of the bed, five kittens are in the bed. Then one kitten in the bed, six kittens are out of the bed.
From then on, I had no trouble counting anything. This article and remembering my dream inspired this children's book about Terry struggling to learn numbers and the Mary, the Number Fairy, helping her to understand.
When a child is struggling to comprehend the meaning of numbers, they might dream about it after a frustrating day of trying to understand and learn the numbers.
Recommended for children 2-6
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