The Chengzhu Mandarin Centre in Singapore is dedicated to working with parents and children to instill the history of Chinese culture, traditions and language in young children. The Centre has programmes for students age six months through P6. Parents accompany their children in the two programmes designed for ages six months through 3 1/2 years, Play Nest and Play Club. Chengzhu has a holistic approach to education and believes that what is taught in the classroom should be reinforced in the home environment. For this reason, education & parenting combine to optimize the learning potential of each child.
In a global island state such as Singapore there are many, many cultures. Diversity is one of the wonderful aspects of this beautiful island. While parents appreciate that their children will live in a world of global commerce, at the same time they believe it is important to maintain the history and language of their country of origin for their own children and for future generations.
One of the ways that a culture can be lost is through the loss of the language spoken by that culture. In Singapore there are four official languages. Mandarin is one of those languages, but the schools all teach using English based curriculum. To do well in school, children need to be fluent English. To be fluent in their own language they must use it daily. Essentially, it is best for Mandarin speaking children in Singapore to be bilingual and completely fluent in both languages.
Learning Chinese for kids can start early. Introducing and reinforcing Mandarin at the early age of six months through age 3 1/2 will produce optimal results. During these early years children learn very easily. Children are drawn to learning when the lessons are introduced in a fun, nurturing manner. Having a parent with them during the sessions ensures that the child will feel safe, and it will also show the parent how to interact with their child at home using the same philosophy.
Using music, puppets, story time, special activities and even snack time, the toddlers in the Play Nest programme are taught the foundations of the language learning process. As for the children, they just know they are having fun. Learning just happens at the same time. When their young minds are approached from this tactic, teaching is much more productive.
By eighteen months of age children are forming words with some saying complete sentences. During the Play Club programme sessions, designed for children ages 1 1/2 to 3 1/2, the young students are introduced to the natural rhythm of spoken Mandarin using music, puppets, activities, stories and more. They will have character recognition activities introducing them to pre-reading and pre-writing, including number skills. Laying this groundwork will pave the way for the learning processes to follow during the primary school years.