Young kids are adept at listening to native speakers and imitating them. Their natural curiosity and sense of exploration at this age makes them open to absorbing new information so it’s the perfect time to start learning Mandarin
Do you want your child to be proficient in Mandarin? Research supports teaching second languages early because as we know it’s harder to learn a second language as we get older. Young children excel at learning implicitly — they are able to listen to native speakers and imitate them with far more ease than adults. So it makes sense to expose them to Mandarin early on, and not just any Mandarin. Because of a young child’s ability to imitate tones and accents, it’s important that they are learning from native Mandarin speakers so that they are using the correct nuances, grammar, and tones.
Having regular fun and engaging lessons will ensure your preschooler gets a grasp of Mandarin while they are at this prime age to learn a second language. If you have a child between the ages of 4 and 6, how can you make the most of this time to expose your kids to Mandarin so that they develop a love and talent for this potentially complicated language?
1. Make sure the lesson is fun!
Preschoolers are all about fun, so a Mandarin class that uses games to motivate kids will be more appealing than text-heavy or rote learning style classes. Once your child is enjoying themself they will look forward to class and be much more receptive to learning.
2. Choose one-on-one Mandarin tuition
Consider one-on-one private tuition so that the Mandarin teacher can cater the class to your child’s interests. You will want to make sure your preschooler’s first impressions of Mandarin are good – that they are fully engaged and have a connection with the teacher. When your child has the teachers’ undivided attention their progress will be marked as the teacher can easily correct any spoken mistakes and make the lesson truly personalised to your child, slowing the pace or speeding things up according to their needs.
3. Find a Mandarin lesson that fits their attention span
Preschoolers have a shorter attention span so your child will benefit from short classes around 25 minutes long. The key is keeping your child engaged – any longer for this age group, and their attention may waiver and that’s when they may start thinking a lesson is boring.
4. Ensure your child is learning authentic Mandarin
Because little children are so adept at picking up accents and tones, it’s all the more important that their teachers have perfect accents, grammar and pronunciation! Look for a Mandarin class where teachers have attained a minimum of level “2-A” in the Putonghua Proficiency Test. For those who aren’t aware, this is the official test done to measure spoken fluency in “Standard Chinese”. Native Mandarin speakers who are well qualified, will teach (and model) the correct nuances of speech patterns, accurate use of grammar, vocabulary and syntax. When your child learns Mandarin authentically they will get a good foundation to master the language.
5. Expose your preschooler to Mandarin as frequently as possible
They say practice makes perfect and the more your child hears and speaks Mandarin, the more attuned they will become to the four tones and the more vocabulary they will pick up. You could consider letting your child watch TV shows in Mandarin, set up playdates with a native speaker friend who only speaks Mandarin and have regular Mandarin lessons (both in-person and virtual).
So how do you find a Mandarin class that makes the most of these all-important preschooler years? LingoAce offers a pre-school program that ticks many of the above boxes. Their programme is specially designed for kids aged 4-6 years old and centres around one-on-one private tuition. All the teachers at LingoAce are native Mandarin-speaking teachers so you know your child is learning the correct pronunciation and nuances. They understand that classes have to be fun to keep kids engaged so they use lots of games plus a mix of teaching methods to reinforce the message of each lesson.
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The LingoAce in-house learning platform is equipped to engage learners’ visual, auditory, and reading/writing learning styles. Their curriculum is designed with the Multiple Intelligences Approach so children are guided through the course in many different ways using different learning styles from musical (where they might use nursery rhymes to reinforce the learning) to bodily-kinaesthetic (body smart), where the teacher will encourage the kids to move their bodies and be active in the lesson.
If you’re keen to make the most of your child’s early years and start them on Mandarin lessons why not get a free trial of the LingoAce preschool program today?
PLUS! Sign up LingoAce preschool program and you will get an extra 8 pinyin classes (worth$168)!
LingoAce Academy, 111 Somerset, #04-01 Singapore 238164, www.lingoace.com/sg