One way for those households that don’t possess a native speaker is the hiring of a nanny who speaks Chinese. The NY Times had an article noting the increase 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 focusing on Masters and PhD’s who are looking for more income. Another option is getting 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, there exists a large population of people in the US from China who don’t have papers who are nannies, so be careful. Nannies are also looking after your children, so picking the right person is extremely important, particularly 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 when 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 the US, it does not work due to culture classes. There is a huge 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 head to school without a large amount of parental pushing find yourself in failure. With the child being forced to go to school and frequently 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 is lots of conversation. I was pleasantly surprised by my daughter’s public school language teacher who spoke of like this in the classroom, rather than the traditional focus on grammar in learning many foreign languages. At a young age, I recommend programs that teach utilizing a lot of singing along with other fun activities.
Chinese Learning Products
CD’s for Learning Chinese
CD’s come in two different kinds. One is products which are 100% Chinese of Chinese Children Songs or stories only in Chinese. Some products include a book of lyrics in Chinese, and other’s don’t. Other products are designed to teach Chinese and have a booklet with lyrics in English, Pinyin, and Chinese Characters. The teaching Chinese products are both from from the united states (the majority) and a series from Singapore. The products for Teaching Chinese are bilingual, so the songs are sung in both Chinese and English. What I like about the CD’s is they give a parent a chance to be part of the procedure 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. best ways to learn mandarin 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 a 3 product series from Singapore that has both familiar songs and new ones. 3 is the most I have seen of any series of Cd’s for Teaching Chinese to Children.
Video’s for Learning Chinese
Video’s such as from Mei Mei use more of a practical approach teaching basic vocabulary and she currently has five video’s in her series. From the initial one that teaches counting and areas of the body with songs through 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 is great about this video could it be gives your Child the opportunity to compare their experience and start to see the differences between their school and the one in the video. From lunch to PE to naps. To select the right video for the child, I recommend reading the reviews (both good and bad).
Books for Learning Chinese
A great book for those just starting to Learn Chinese is I WILL NOT 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 to read Chinese, as a way to teach from it. A great book for exposing Children to Chinese Characters is Long Is A Dragon by Peggy Goldstein A selection of books for Learning Chinese Character