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Four Easy Steps to Support Bilingual Learning at Home (Even if You Don’t Speak the Language!)

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Want your child to become bilingual, mama? Here’s how you can support their journey, courtesy of the language experts at Singapore American School

We were recently delighted to find out about the new Kindergarten Chinese immersion program at Singapore American School, which will promote Mandarin bilingualism amongst native English speakers while also creating a deeper understanding of Chinese language and culture.

“This is all very well and good,” you might be saying, “But how do I support my child’s bilingual education when I don’t speak a lick of Mandarin myself?!”

Good question, mama (we had the same one)! So we spoke with Sally Lean, Director of World Languages at SAS to provide some handy dandy tips on how parents can help their kids learn a new languageany new language!

1. Don’t Make it a Show

As children begin to learn a new language it’s natural for parents to be excited and perhaps want to show off to others what their kids are learning. However when language skills are turned into a “show”, kids feel more pressure as they speak. It’s important to let kids incorporate their skills into situations and conversations naturally.

2. Make Use of Technology

There are tons of great apps, games and interactive sites that can be used to help your child progress in their learning. Plus as a bonus, if you don’t know the language either you can sit down with your child to play some of the games yourself. You might even find yourself picking up some new words and phrases!

While there are many language-specific games and apps, here are several that can be used for any language:

3. Try Finding a TV or Movie you Enjoy Translated into Another Language

This will help expose your child to the pronunciation used, and if it’s a show they’re familiar with they will already understand the context of what’s happening. YouTube is a fantastic resource for this.

4. Read Bilingual Books Together

To get the pronunciation right you may need to find the audio version of a book to listen to together as you follow along. Check out the children’s section at Singapore’s National Library for a wide selection of books in Mandarin and other languages. The Elementary School Library at Singapore American School has nearly 90,000 print materials – for many of the books available in English, similar materials are available in Chinese, Spanish and other languages. You’ll find heaps of digital resources, too!

If you like to learn more about the value of raising bilingual children and how to best support them, click here for more about Chinese immersion at SAS!

Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Singapore 738547, Tel: (+65) 6363 3403,

Brought to you in partnership with Singapore American School Image #4: "Fun Fun Elmo"; Image #5 via Epigram Books

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