Children have an amazing aptitude for learning a second language and it’s even easier when they are having fun!
As we’ve already shown, developing strong language skills helps children interact with people from around the world, develop a strong appreciation of the culture, and enjoy powerful mental and physical health benefits.
But the children aren’t the only ones who benefit here. Here’s how the parents want their child to grow by learning a second language.
Initiating language learning for children: what are the barriers of entry?
Parents love boosting their child’s confidence, watching them have fun, and seeing them grow. And signing them up for foreign language classes at a young age is a perfect way to accomplish all three.
But there are several problems when it comes to discovering the ‘why,’ the ‘where,’ and the ‘how.’
Problem 1: parents don’t know how much their child can benefit from learning a second language.
Many people don’t know the compound benefits that learning a second language brings, especially when learnt at a young age.
Problem 2: parents can’t find the right language school.
Parents aren’t aware of their options in the marketplace and why they should choose one school over another.
Problem 3: parents are too busy for extracurricular activities.
Parents with children 0-5 years of age work during the day and don’t have the ability or time to teach the child themselves. They’d rather have the experts teach them to ensure the child receives the proper instruction.
Let’s take a closer look at how Mandarin Stars has met these parents’ immediate needs, as well as ensured long-term results. In the process, you’ll meet some of our learners and how they’ve discovered Mandarin Stars, progressed through the courses, and applied their learnings in the real world.
Niharika, year 3 in primary school
As one of our star students, Niharika began the Mandarin Stars program at age 4. We were interested in learning more about Niharika’s experience, how she liked the activities, and how she uses her Mandarin skills outside of class.
- What do you feel is your biggest achievement through learning Mandarin?I’ve learned a new language that no-one in my family’s been born into. So I think it’s a really good achievement.
- Yes, it’s very special! So how many languages do you speak now?I know Hindi, Marathi (which is my mother tongue), English, and now Mandarin. I play the cello too, so I’d say music as well.
- Wow! So what do you love about learning Mandarin, which activities do you like in the classes?I like the one where you have to throw the ball at the word. And the Pictionary activity, and the one where there’s a painting and there’s a minute to draw everything…that one’s fun.
- Have you been able to practice your Mandarin with other children at school?Sometimes! I have a friend who was born in China and speaks Mandarin. So sometimes I just hang out with her and practice.
- That’s awesome! So do you think you’d like to learn Mandarin more as you grow up?Yes.
Leo, age 12
We first sat down to talk with Leo, who started learning Mandarin in our playgroups at age 3. Here’s his experience at Mandarin Stars: read about how he applies his learnings, what achievements he’s earned since starting, and if he might want to learn other languages in the future.
- How old were you when you started the program?
I was 3 years old.
- What is your language background? Do you speak Mandarin at home at all?My language background is English. My grandparents and relatives in Hong Kong speak Cantonese, but I don’t really speak that; I speak more Mandarin these days. My dad only speaks English and my mum practices Mandarin with us at home (Mum is fluent in English, Cantonese, and she’s learning Mandarin with us).
- What achievements have you reached in learning Mandarin at Mandarin Stars?I have completed YCT 1 and 2, and got High Distinctions in both.
- What activities over the years have you enjoyed in learning Mandarin at Mandarin StarsI enjoy everything! Especially the games and role-playing activities.
- How have you managed to practice Mandarin and use your language skills in everyday life? Maybe at school, out shopping, or with friends?I practised at home and sometimes at school.
- Would you like to continue learning Mandarin in High School?Definitely! I’m lucky as the high school I’m going to offers Mandarin in Year 7, so I’ll be able to continue my studies there.
- How do you feel about learning languages? Is it something you enjoy? Do you feel like you could also learn other foreign languages in the future?I enjoy learning other languages, as it’s good fun. I’ve also been learning Italian at school since I was five. Next year, I’ll continue to learn Mandarin and I’ll give Latin a try too. I reckon I can learn more in the future!
Luci, age 13
Luci started the Mandarin Stars program at age six and finished at age 12, where she went on to study Mandarin in high school. Once she discovered that the difficulty level was not enough of a challenge, she returned to Mandarin Stars to continue her studies for another year!
- Hi, Luci! How did you discover Mandarin Stars? Mandarin Stars was recommended to us from a friend.
- How old were you when you started the program?I was six.
- What’s your language background? Do you speak Mandarin at home?I’m Australian, and I don’t naturally speak Mandarin at home other than my practice!
- What achievements have you reached while learning Mandarin at Mandarin Stars?Performing at the Chinese Spectacular for two years and passing YCT1 and YCT2 certification with high distinction.
- Which activities have you enjoyed over the years at Mandarin Stars?Participating in the Chinese Spectacular and learning new songs, learning about Chinese culture and food and learning lessons in fun ways.
- How have you used your Mandarin language skills in everyday life? At school, out shopping, or maybe with friends?At restaurants, welcoming new Chinese kids at school who don’t speak English, helping my friends learn it at school, and possibly going to China in the future!
- Would you like to continue learning Mandarin in the future at High School?Yes definitely, because it will always help me practice, learn new skills, and also help me in reaching my goal of becoming fluent in Mandarin.
- How do you feel about learning languages? Is it something you enjoy so far? Do you feel like you could also learn other foreign languages in the future?It’s fun learning Mandarin and I find that the more I put into it, the more I get out of it. I enjoy it because it helps me think, concentrate and understand. I could possibly learn another language in the future because you can learn anything if you put your mind to it!
As shown above, these little ones have acquired a love for Mandarin and its culture thanks to their parents’ openness, their own willingness to learn, and getting the right instruction.
Children under the age of three are learning with us at Mandarin Stars! Watch Lily from Killara show off her Mandarin skills:
“I love to see Zoe singing, understanding and speaking in Mandarin. What makes me smile is when Zoe refers to things outside class in Mandarin, it is beautiful to hear.”
– Vicki (mum to Zoe)
We provide child-centric Mandarin classes for children up to age 12.
All of our programs are Immersion-based learning, and by teaching the children Mandarin, we are paving the way for future learning. By starting from a young age, they can easily develop the hearing, pronunciation, and confidence required in learning a new language.
Our beginning students start at Playgroup, then move on to Superstars. Similar to preschool, we cover specific topics and themes and reinforce those themes with dramatic play, singing, dancing, craft – lots of activities to captivate young children in learning Mandarin!
By age 12, our students are confident Mandarin learners who can easily introduce themselves, express themselves, present on various topics, and talk about their families and interests.
At Mandarin Stars, we lay strong foundations in the early years and equip our students with strong listening and speaking skills, helping them become inspired learners of Chinese with genuine confidence and a love for the language.
Mandarin is the most commonly-used language on Earth and our little ones will experience lifelong benefits by starting to learn today!