One method for those households that don’t possess a native speaker may be the hiring of a nanny who speaks Chinese. The NY Times had articles noting the upsurge in au pairs from China. It is also possible to arrange play dates with other children that are learning Chinese as well as getting a Chinese speaking babysitter. Local universities will often have spouses of Chinese working on Masters and PhD’s who are looking for extra income. Another option is finding a local nanny, and there are a variety around. If you are in public areas service, please remember Zoe Baird on certain requirements for legally hiring a nanny. Truth to find out, you will find a large population of people in the US from China who don’t possess papers who are nannies, so be careful. Nannies are also taking care of your children, so picking the right person is extremely important, especially if they live with you. Friends of ours have gone through multiple nannies and it was not a good experience.
Private Chinese Schools
Traditionally non-public Chinese Schools in america start teaching children if they are old to sit still and copy characters. Most schools remain using traditional teaching rote teaching methods still used in Taiwan and China. For the most part with children in america, it does not work due to culture classes. There exists a large amount of independence in children in the US and using boring teaching methods that not capture the interest of the child so they want to go to school without a large amount of parental pushing will end up in failure. With the kid being forced to go to school and often treating it as just babysitting, rather than learning Chinese.
An alternative is finding a school that uses more of a Montessori Method or what’s used in ESL where there’s lots of conversation. I was pleasantly surprised by my daughter’s public school language teacher who spoke of using this method in the classroom, rather than the traditional concentrate on grammar in learning many foreign languages. At a young age, I would suggest programs that teach using a lot of singing and other fun activities.
Chinese Learning Products
CD’s for Learning Chinese
CD’s come in two different kinds. One is products that are 100% Chinese of Chinese Children Songs or stories only in Chinese. Some products add a book of lyrics in Chinese, and other’s don’t. Other products are designed to teach Chinese and also have a booklet with lyrics in English, Pinyin, and Chinese Characters. The teaching Chinese products are both from from the US (the majority) and a series from Singapore. The products for Teaching Chinese are bilingual, therefore the songs are sung in both Chinese and English. What I love about the CD’s is they provide a parent an opportunity to be part of the process where they can Sing Happy Birthday in the Teach Me Chinese CD and Book in both English and Chinese (this series focuses on popular songs in Chinese and English). The other series have specially written songs for Teaching Chinese. The Teach Me Chinese Series has Teacher Guides available. The Sing & Learn Chinese CD & Book carries a track of the songs without words (like Karoke). Let’s Sing Chinese is really a 3 product series from Singapore that has both familiar songs and new ones. 3 is the most I have seen of any group of Cd’s for Teaching Chinese to Children.
Video’s for Learning Chinese
Video’s such as from Mei Mei use more of a hands on approach teaching basic vocabulary and she currently has five video’s in her series. From the initial one which teaches counting and areas of the body with songs via an approach that children love to later ones that progress such as for example her Play and Learn Chinese with Mei Mei where a genuine Chinese Kindergarten is visited. What’s great about this video is it gives your Child the opportunity to compare their experience and start to see the differences between their school and the main one in the video. From lunch to PE to naps. To select the right video for your child, I would recommend reading the reviews (both good and bad).
Books for Learning Chinese
A great book for all those just beginning to Learn Chinese is I Won’t Bite. It is a touch and feel book that has Pinyin, Chinese Characters, and English. The challenge of using a book is frequently you need to know how exactly to read Chinese, as a way to teach from it. best ways to learn mandarin for exposing Children to Chinese Characters is Long IS REALLY A Dragon by Peggy Goldstein A selection of books for Learning Chinese Character