There are numerous benefits of being multilingual or bilingual. Young children possess a higher grasping power of a new language when they are immersed in it.
In the age of global citizens, it is important that we raise young children to appreciate and understand their tradition and language. Native Chinese speakers
are encouraged to speak to their children in Mandarin for speedy learning. Non-native Mandarin Chinese speakers can learn the language with their children.
Parent and children learning at the same time creates a positive and fun environment. For parents who are looking for a ‘step wise Chinese teaching map’, here are 6 easy steps as
suggested by Chinese speech and drama Singapore:
1.Speak, sing and play: As adults we still remember the rhymes we were taught as children. Ever wondered why only those stayed etched while
other subjects like calculus was completely wiped out? Simple, because rhymes were taught as catchy songs. Teaching a new language is simplified
when it is in the form of songs. Youg students love to sing. Sing Chinese songs and incorporate a simple game like the freeze game. To start off,
try singing London Bridge is falling down in Chinese.
2.Use all 5 senses to learn: Children love anything which involves hands to explore something new. Introducing them to words in Chinese can use
show and tell concept. Consider teaching them the word flower in Chinese: you can accomplish this by giving the child a flower and saying the word
aloud while pointing at the object. Repetition is the key here.
3.Consistent fun learning: Ensure that learning is in a fun environment. Only when the child finds learning Chinese fun will he/she come back
enthusiastic to learn more. Stock up on various Chinese learning CDs, picture books, audio programs and learning apps. Try the idea of a surprise box
to place teaching material for the week.
4.Learn through drawing: Writing Chinese is like art: it involves drawing out various strokes. Resort to the classic way of learning to draw Chinese
using inkpad, brush and stone set. Children love the idea of drawing out using these tools instead of crayon or marker. Chinese language has over 500 characters,
start off with those which have fewer strokes and then progress to the complicated ones. A good place to start is with words like sky tin )Y, big d ‘Y, and person rn N.
5.Read familiar stories aloud in Chinese: Stories in native language when read aloud in Chines have a profound effect on learning in young children.
Parents whose native language is not Chinese can seek help from reading videos available on line to continue learning at home. Reading is identified as the
trigger which sets off early literacy in children. Children also follow the plot of the story better because they are familiar with it. Apart from boosting
literacy, reading also improves vocabulary, native language skills and sentence formation.
6.Make the language come alive: Any language is learnt as a form of communication. Have the children use the language to communicate with native Chinese
speakers at places like markets and restaurants. If there is a Chinese cultural activity in the neighborhood, participate in the same with your child. Your efforts are
rewarded when the child speaks comfortably in Chinese. Parents who are teaching their children Chinese will benefit from enrolling in Chinese playgroup.
The children can interact with other kids of the same age.
Learning any new language especially Chinese can be made easy and fun. Every little step counts in the journey. Encourage and reward along the way to make learning effective.