Keep your child learning outside of Mandarin Stars classes!
One of the most common questions I get from parents is ‘How can I teach my child Mandarin if I don’t speak it myself?’ As parents to three children who are learning Mandarin as a foreign language, my husband William and I (who are non-native Mandarin speakers) have learnt a few fantastic tips to help develop learning at home. We have tried and tested them and believe us- they do work!
Log into the term’s Video Learning Hub (which can be found on the Welcome page of your child’s orange or green workbook) and spend a few minutes each/ every other day going over the weekly vocabulary/ flashcards and phrases.
Make sure you spend some time- even if it’s just ten minutes per week, supervising your child with their weekly homework activity sheet. Even if you aren’t sure how to pronounce the new words, being able to show that you are interested in what your child is learning is a wonderful form of support. Over time, we have found that students who complete their homework each week come back to class feeling more confident, capable and inspired to learn!
Play Mandarin songs (relevant to your child’s age group) as much as possible. (In the morning on the way to pre-school/ day care etc is a good time as children tend to be more fresh and receptive to absorbing the Mandarin language at this time).
If you allow your child to watch TV- why not watch it in Mandarin? There are many videos on YouTube and programs in Mandarin such as:
Hoopla Doopla Mandarin!
Little Fox Stories and Songs in Mandarin:
Peppa Pig in Mandarin:
Learn some basic phrases so that you can role play with your child or even practice at meal times/ when going to the shops. The core phrases we like to practice in Mandarin are (refer back to the Phrases Sheet for parents in the Online Activity Centre):
A: Parent to ask
B: Child to answer
A: What’s this? (pointing to a flashcard/ object)… zhè shì shén me?
B: This is… zhè shì
A: What’s your name? nǐ jiào shén me míng zi?
B: My name is… wǒ jiào
A: Do you like… Nǐ xǐ huān ma?
B: I like… / I don’t like… wǒ xǐ huān/ wǒ bù xǐ huān
Attend a free parent class with Mandarin Stars! Classes are also available online! Our free parent classes aim to arm parents and carers with enough knowledge so that you can practice at home together! Contact us at [email protected] for a list of available classes.
Create as much purpose as you can to learning Mandarin for your child. We are very lucky in that here in Australia- we have access to a melting pot of cultures, ethnicity and languages! Use every moment possible to embrace this and encourage your child to practice speaking Mandarin with others or in daily life (at the local shops/ restaurants) with new people who speak Mandarin natively.
Make up games that help your child remember the words they are learning. You can play “Eye Spy” and insert Mandarin words (I spy a ping guo [apple]) or see how many objects you can name at the dinner table, in the fruit bowl or in the bedroom. Post-its around the house are also a fun activity for kids. Make them together as an activity.
Each week there is a short, weekly task for your child to complete. These tasks are designed to revise and practice the vocabulary and phrases taught in class and help cultivate better memory retention and develop meaning to what is being taught. The activity can be completed in as little as 5-10 minutes each week and make a noticeable difference to overall learning outcomes. From our experience, such practice helps to build better memory, knowledge and overall capacity to learn Mandarin in both the short and long term and we would appreciate your support in encouraging students to complete their weekly tasks.
Your child’s lao shi will date and fold the page for each homework for the week. You are also welcome to email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.