The Chinese culture is one with more than 5,000 years of history. With its increased presence in the business world, children can gain an advantage if they are proficient in the Chinese language and culture. Parents often wonder about the methods they can use to introduce the Chinese language and culture to their children. In this article we will share some ways our preschoolers learn about the Chinese culture and festivals at our Preschool.
At MindChamps Chinese PreSchool @ Cecil Street, a preschool in CBD Singapore, preschoolers are exposed to the Chinese language and culture in a variety of ways.
1. Children engage in themed activities related to Chinese festivals
Teachers at this preschool in CBD Singapore plan themed activities related to the major Chinese festivals that are celebrated. Other than being introduced to the origins of the festivals through stories and songs, children get to craft and even cook dishes that are significant to the celebration.
During Chinese New Year, the children will be taken to Chinatown to bask in the joyous festive atmosphere. An event will be held in school where children and their parents will be treated to a lion dance and fried nian gao (sticky rice cake).
For Mid-Autumn festival, children make their own lanterns and walk around the school with it. Mooncakes are often paired with tea during the Mid-Autumn festival. The teachers hold tea appreciation sessions for children to introduce them to Chinese tea culture.
The story of Qu Yuan is shared with the children during the Dragon Boat Festival and they can get to taste or make dumplings.
2. Children go on excursions to the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre
Traditional Chinese culture is showcased through arts and performances at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre. The excursions allow children to gain a broader perspective of Chinese culture.
3. Children learn about traditional Chinese painting
Art is an integral part of Chinese culture. Chinese ink painting is starkly different from Western painting, with a focus on scenery and natural elements. Children at this preschool in Singapore’s CBD are introduced to the distinctive “Four Treasures” – brush, paper, ink and ink stone.
Younger children who are unable to control a brush properly use their fingers to paint simple drawings, such as plum blossom trees.
4. Children show appreciation and gratitude towards their parents during the Graduation Ceremony
Filial piety is a central value in the Chinese culture.
In this tradition that is unique to MindChamps Chinese PreSchool, Kindergarten 2 graduands will prepare a drawing for their parents as a gift. They will write down a short message of what they are grateful for. During the graduation ceremony, the children will kneel down and serve their parents tea as it is sign of respect and appreciation.
Indeed, the Chinese language is one of the most complicated languages for new learners to pick up. Weaving in opportunities for preschoolers to understand Chinese history, culture, tradition and values through multi-sensorial experiences certainly adds dimension and depth to Chinese language learning.
Written by Jamie Koh
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