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Fun Mandarin Classes for Your Kids

The best time to expose your child to a second language is during the toddler years. According to New York Language Workshop for Children director Francois Thibaut, the ability to hear different phonetic pronunciations is sharpest before age 3, and   the capacity to hear and produce certain sounds is lost when a child is not exposed early on.


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Image courtesy of Phaitoon at www.freedigitalphotos.net

It is amazing how kids easily pick up a second language even if they do not take formal classes. On a tour in Scandinavia many years ago, I met a Finnish tourist guide who spoke flawless Mandarin. When asked how she learned the language, she divulged that her parents were missionaries in China when she was a small child and she picked up the language at the playground. My mom spent her toddler years were spent in Pampanga. Although she left for Manila at 5, the ability to speak and understand  Kapampangan never left her.  Like the tour guide, my mother also learned the dialect from playmates.

We wanted Mishca to develop  a love for  her Chinese heritage as early as possible. At 7 months old, we started showing her Wink to Learn’s Speak and Read Chinese videos.  The makers of the videos have a recommended distance between the child and the screen, plus a guide on the frequency a child  can watch the videos each week. We followed the video guidelines  and also dimmed the screen so that Mishca’s eyesight would  not be compromised.

By the time she started speaking at 1 year and 3 months, she could sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in Mandarin. I discovered this during a trip to China, when I started singing  the song in Mandarin and she filled in the lyrics!

If you are looking for non-traditional ways to introduce your child to the Mandarin language, consider the following:

 Dash Cultural and Language Institute.  Classes are taught by native Mandarin teachers from Mainland China, most of whom know very little English and Filipino. Their principle is to teach the language by exposing your children to  a purely Mandarin environment. Children learn the language through play, songs, arts and crafts and the use of flashcards. No translations allowed.

Mishca had a trial class at Dash’s Fun Ranch branch in September 2014.  She enjoyed climbing the jungle gym in the toddler class. We were impressed that kids as young as 18 months were responding to the teacher in Mandarin. And then there was a 3 year old girl who was  flipping through a series of flash cards  with her teacher, effortlessly pronouncing hard-to-read Chinese characters.  I felt a tinge of envy when I saw that! I wished I had that extensive a vocabulary when I was her age.

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Here is the DASH SUMMER FUN Program: (Click the text of the Chinese Learning Camp to see it in full screen)

All parents want their children to have a relaxing or fun yet meaningful summer vacation. At Dash Cultural and Educational Institute’s Summer Fun Programs, your child can learn Chinese while playing games, doing arts and crafts, having fun lessons and preparing yummy dishes! Who said summer can’t be both fun and educational?

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FEES:

March 16 to 27 is P6,900.

April 6 to May 29 is P15,500

May 4 to May 29 is P6,900

They also offer year-round lessons for kids and adults.

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DASH CONTACT INFORMATION:  http://www.dashchinese.com.ph

U-501G Culmat Building
E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City

#33 Doña Hemady Ave. (near 5th St.)
New Manila, Quezon City

U/G Fun Ranch
Frontera Verde, Ortigas Ext. (cor C5 Rd.)
Pasig City

#284 M.A. Reyes St.
Little Baguio, San Juan City

Contact us after school hours:
Landline: (02) 475-5571
Mobile: 0922-826-6888 (Line/ Viber/WeChat)

 

Little Chefs Class of Kindermusik’s Teacher Suzette and Friends.  Mishca attends the Kindermusik class of Teacher Suzette at Capitol Greens. And we are excited about this summer  program as it combines Chinese learning and one of Mishca’s favorite activities–cooking! No worries about burnt fingers, though. Teacher Suzette said that the kids will be making simple dishes that won’t necessitate working with fire or a stove. The most complex dish, she said, is pizza. The class will be taught by resident Chinese teacher Michelle Co, who is also a SPED and Singapore Math teacher.

Fee:  P7, 500  for one month, inclusive of materials and apron

There is a 5% discount for those who will avail of both the April and May classes. Different dishes will be presented on both months.

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Teacher Suzette’s Capitol Hills branch also offers year-round Chinese tutorials.

Contact details:  FACEBOOK  Page–We Love Teacher Suzette and Friends

Address: Basement Capitol Green Street, Capitol Hills Dr., Old Balara, Quezon City, Quezon City, Philippines

Quio Hu in YouTube.  If your schedule or budget do not permit you to take your child to these classes, you can still expose your child to Mandarin through a  Taiwanese TV show called Quio Hu, which means Clever Tiger. Kids and parents alike will enjoy watching and learning from Quio Hu. It teaches kids everything from animals, shapes, colors, Chinese characters to good manners, good eating habits and, of course, the Chinese culture.  Each episode, which usually has an overall theme presented  using animation and live action videos,  is excellently produced. Best of all, they are free to watch on YouTube. I know of an American man who uses this show to pick up Mandarin phrases. Cheaper and more entertaining than taking foreign language, he says.  Truly even mom or dad will enjoy watching these episodes.

Bettter Chinese Curriculum. Because Mishca is going to be homeschooling this coming school year, we thought of supplementing her English and Filipino homeschool curriculum with a non-traditional Mandarin program. We want to encourage her to love the language and love speaking it, and not be bogged down by memorization and rote. The Better Chinese Kindergarten curriculum is specifically designed for children in a non-native Chinese environment. It  is  the only complete curriculum in the US designed to help children learn Chinese as a foreign or second language. Upon completion of its preschool program, a student will recognize basic Chinese characters and sentence patterns.

The curriculum includes 36 books,  an audio version of the books,  an interactive CD-ROM that reads the storybook lessons to the child, then quizzes him or her using attractive flash animation. It also has a teacher’s guide and writing packets.

Compiled by education experts and experiences teacher, My First Chinese Words for preschool learners  guides children  through situation themes, accompanied by colorful and stimulating illustrations that they can easily relate to for high impact learning.  Visit the Better Chinese website for more information about their products: http://www.betterchinese.com/

Mishca loves the colorful books so much that she is the one coaxing me to give her lessons. This is Mishca reading book 1 of the My First Chinese Words.  This video was taken the morning after we received the package from the US.

Happy learning!

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