Many parents say that teaching their children Chinese is a major roadblock for them. While most parents are deeply appreciative of the value of learning one’s Mother Tongue, putting it into practice is a little bit more difficult when parents are not confident of imparting the language to their children.
What’s more, children sense their parents’ hesitancy and lack of assurance when it comes to speaking Chinese. This leads to a higher chance of the children being resistant to learning and speaking Mandarin.
For such situations, this is where trained teachers who are certified to teach Chinese to preschoolers come in, as they can make learning Chinese fun and enjoyable for them. Parents therefore usually consider two options – Chinese enrichment classes, or Chinese immersion preschool.
Which choice is most suitable for you?
Read on as we weigh the differences and benefits of sending your children to Chinese immersion preschools and Chinese enrichment classes in a bid to nurture a love of learning Chinese in them.
Why choose Chinese immersion preschools for your children?
The best way for children to pick up a new language like Mandarin is to use it often and every day. Like a muscle, language must be exercised regularly in order for it to be flexible and smooth. This is another main reason why many parents are not confident in their own ability to teach Chinese to their children. Many families nowadays do not speak much Chinese at home and the children do not get an opportunity to integrate their Mother Tongue seamlessly into home life.
This is where Chinese immersion preschools like MindChamps Chinese PreSchool come in, to meet the needs of parents who wish to provide their children with a firm foundation in the Chinese language. With the language infused into the curriculum, the children are exposed to the natural use of Mandarin in their everyday lives, building their self-confidence and their vocabulary.
Chinese immersion preschools help children to develop a comfortable relationship with the language, which is important to foster a love not only for Chinese but also for the culture. Lessons are fun, interactive and holistic – gone are the days where Mandarin was taught in a ‘drill and kill’ fashion.
Instead, children at Chinese immersion preschools learn Chinese in a natural, intuitive environment rather than by rote and from textbooks. After all, when children are interested, they learn without realising they are learning.
Furthermore, Chinese immersion preschools provide an all-rounded experience where English and Chinese work hand in hand to prepare your children not just for the rigours of the primary school curriculum, but also for life as effectively bilingual people in a multilingual world.
If you are not sure if Chinese enrichment classes will be enough to truly immerse your child in the daily use of Chinese, then a Chinese immersion preschool may be the perfect choice for you and your family.
Why choose Chinese enrichment classes for your children?
Chinese enrichment classes for preschoolers are a great way for parents to dip their toes into the water. Perhaps your children have good support in school for Mother Tongue, or you wish to target specific areas such as traditional Chinese art forms like brush calligraphy. In such cases, Chinese enrichment classes can be very useful as extensions of what your children are already learning in school.
Just like Chinese immersion preschools, these classes aim to foster a love for learning and speaking Mandarin in the children. Many classes use songs and games to encourage children to be participative and to truly enjoy themselves while at the same time flourishing and growing in their native use of the language.
Chinese enrichment classes also tend to have smaller class sizes which may be perfect for your children if they thrive with a little bit of extra attention. However, the more popular enrichment centres may have long waiting lists with no assurance that your child will get a spot.
Ultimately, whether you choose to enrol your preschooler in a Chinese immersion preschool or choose an enrichment class, the main aim is to instill in them not just an active desire to learn but a true joy in reading, speaking and writing in Mandarin.
Written By JoBeth Williams