Bilingual Preschool Vs Chinese Preschool: Which is a better choice for your child?
Learning two languages from a young age has been proven to be beneficial for a child’s literacy and language development. To raise an effectively bilingual child, it’s important to establish the language foundation right from their formative years.
While the majority of preschools in Singapore are bilingual, there is a growing demand for Chinese preschools. With English overtaking Chinese as the main language spoken at home, many parents are looking for ways to immerse their children in a Chinese-language environment to compensate for the lack of exposure at home.
Between a bilingual preschool and a Chinese preschool, which is a better choice for your child?
Read on to learn their differences.
Bilingual Preschools in Singapore
Most preschools’ curriculum in Singapore is based on a bilingual education system – this is to prepare children for formal education in primary school. In a bilingual preschool setting, lessons are typically conducted by an English teacher and a Chinese teacher. Teachers take turns to conduct lessons, but the predominant language used is English.
At some preschools, bilingualism is taken a step ahead where certain lessons are conducted in both English and Chinese – giving children the exposure to both languages. For example, at MindChamps PreSchool, both the English teacher and Chinese teacher for all levels take turns to conduct weekly enrichment programmes such as Gourmet Moments in their respective languages.
Chinese Immersion Preschools in Singapore
As the love for language is caught rather than taught, parents who do not speak Chinese can provide their children with an immersive Chinese environment by enrolling them in a Chinese immersion preschool.
One such preschool is MindChamps Chinese PreSchool, which offers the same unique curriculum as the rest of the MindChamps PreSchool centres but with a greater emphasis on Chinese.
As Chinese is infused into the curriculum, preschoolers from as young as 18 months are given exposure to the language by listening, speaking and learning Mandarin as part of daily life. Learning Chinese in such an integrated manner makes it natural and fun and this creates a positive association with the language for the child.
Some of the ways in which MindChamps Chinese PreSchool provides children with the opportunity to be immersed in the Chinese learning environment is by having selected enrichment programmes conducted in Chinese (as opposed to English which is the case at the rest of the MindChamps PreSchool centres). This is especially so for the playgroup and nursery 1 classes to build a strong foundation in Chinese for the younger ones.
From nursery 2 onwards, the use of English increases while still maintaining the teaching and learning of Chinese. This well-balanced environment is designed to prepare children for primary school, where English is the main language of instruction.
MindChamps Chinese PreSchool also incorporates the Chinese Culture Appreciation Programme where preschoolers get to learn the rich Chinese culture and history through lessons, arts and cultural appreciation activities, such as clay modelling, painting and calligraphy.
The end goal: Raising Future Ready Global Citizens
Some parents may be concerned that attending a Chinese immersion preschool may cause English to take a backseat, but that is a myth.
As English is still the main language spoken in Singapore, children will pick up the language with minimum effort. What’s surprising is that research shows, children who learn a second language actually perform better in their first language than monolingual children.
Regardless if you’re choosing a bilingual preschool or a Chinese immersion preschool, the MindChamps curriculum is designed to nurture a love for learning in children and raise them to be future-ready, bilingual global citizens!
Written by Susan Koh