Monday, September 13, 2010

Encouraging a second language in young children - our little journey :)

Our 4 year old son has picked up some basic Mandarin at his preschool. He has shown so far to have quite the memory, and considering the school he will go to learns mandarin, we have started investigating teaching this to him.

We have completed a trial lesson at Mandarin stars and josh loved it. Due to a clash of days with preschool, he ended up doing his free trial with the 5-7 age group kids and fit in well. It was something new for him and as they speak mandarin 90% of the time, a bit of a shock. But their approach of using craft, lots of visiuals and immersion was wonderful to watch.

The team at Mandarin Stars offer a wide variety of resources online to help you support the family in learning this together, which was one of the main reasons why this school stood out to us.

So we have done some research of our own in addition to recomendations from Mandarin Stars and have found some wonderful tools to help him (and us) learn this foreign language.

Iphone apps:
- 'Kid Lingo Pre-school Mandarin' which is wonderful. It's basically digital flash cards with pronunciation of english and the mandarin with a picture too.
- Baby Talks
- Feed Me!
- Chinese for kids

Aps that have helped us learn too:
- uTalk HD Chinese (Mandarin) --- [iPad ap]

- Mandarin study buddy
- Pinyin Trainer
Chinese Talkpad

This is going to be an interesting journey for us as a family, and it will be interesting what will happen as the kids grow. Definitley thinking another trip to Singapore will be around the corner and then we can practice more of our Mandarin in context (yes that is the reason I want to go back :).

Lauren x

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