Chinese is the most spoken language in the world with over 1.2 billion speakers. With China’s rising affluence and influence, it is no wonder why parents putting emphasis on the importance of Mandarin lessons for toddlers.
Learning Mandarin can be tricky as there are four basic tones with one neutral tone. The pitch and intonation used can change the meaning of a word which is spelt the same with Hanyu Pinyin. It is not impossible, but teaching Mandarin to toddlers in a family where neither parent speaks Mandarin requires significant effort from both child and parent.
1. Learn Mandarin together
If you are a non-Mandarin speaking parent, why not take this opportunity to pick up a new language together with your child?
Hanyu Pinyin is a romanisation system for Mandarin and it is used for teaching as well as to type Chinese characters using computers and smartphones. Hanyu Pinyin has made learning Mandarin much easier for foreigners. Some Chinese books for young children contain accompanying Hanyu Pinyin.
Learning Mandarin together with your child can be a way to bond through a common topic.
2. Enrol your child in a Chinese immersion preschool
Young children learn the most by absorbing knowledge from their surrounding environment. Mandarin for toddlers can be introduced to children from non-Chinese speaking families. Therefore, placing your child in a Chinese immersion preschool like MindChamps Chinese PreSchool ensures that your child is constantly exposed to Mandarin.
MindChamps PreSchool is well equipped with indoor gyms, eco gardens, gourmet kitchens, outdoor play areas and nutritious meals, and its world-renowned curriculum is now available in Chinese.
MindChamps Chinese PreSchool is a bilingual environment where Mandarin lessons for toddlers are part of its curriculum. Core and enrichment programmes are conducted in both English and Mandarin to ensure that your child is able to transit smoothly to primary school in Singapore.
One such core programme at MindChamps Chinese PreSchool is the Chinese Culture Appreciation, where preschoolers can gain an insight into China’s rich history and culture during lessons.
Chinese calligraphy, tea appreciation, clay modelling and Chinese opera are but some of the many hands-on cultural activities which they will experience during their time in MindChamps Chinese PreSchool, a structured Chinese kindergarten.
3. Create an environment incorporating Mandarin for toddlers in the household
A Chinese immersion preschool such as MindChamps Chinese PreSchool will form the basis of Chinese learning, but it will be beneficial to create an environment conducive to learning at home.
Create a music playlist of Mandarin children’s songs to play at home or in the car. Repeated exposure to new words is essential for memory-trace formation.
You can also label the objects and furniture in the house in Chinese. Even if the child does not yet know how to recognise Chinese characters, he or she will register the image of the characters which will assist them when they are being taught the same word in the Chinese kindergarten.
Written by Jamie Koh