If you find it hard to get your kids interested in learning Chinese, you’re not alone.
“Bilingualism has been the cornerstone of Singapore’s language policy since 1959. As English becomes the most common language for Singaporeans, the lack of opportunities to use the Chinese language has naturally led to a weak command of it,” explains Angeline Teo, senior education specialist with Elfa Chinese Preschool, which helps children develop a love of the Chinese language and culture.
Angeline suggests ways that you can help your kid learn to embrace learning Chinese.
CREATE A BILINGUAL HOME
At Elfa, teachers “make a conscious effort to give instructions in English and Mandarin as learning happens more naturally through such interaction”, Angeline says.
“Curating a bilingual environment at home furthers a child’s language development in the most natural way possible.”
Turn this into a show and tell game where you and your kid guess the Chinese word or describe the picture shown on the flashcard in Chinese, Angeline suggests.
WATCH CHINESE PROGRAMMES
Set aside time to watch educational TV shows in Mandarin together, and tune into Chinese radio stations when you’re on the road with your little ones.
Such exposure helps to improves your kid’s pronunciation of Chinese words and teaches them to use the appropriate vocabulary in different contexts, Angeline explains.
“These methods are not only fun and interactive, they also help to build a child’s vocabulary and their confidence to speak.”
MAKE IT FUN
Elfa’s teachers emphasise learning through play, integrating Chinese into the curriculum through the use of nursery rhymes, interactive games, songs, and dance. You can do the same at home.