The schools in Singapore use English based curriculum at all levels. Chinese parents want their children to do well in school, but they also want the children to be fluent in the Chinese language, Mandarin. The Chengzhu Mandarin Centre is dedicated to teaching their students Mandarin and all about Chinese culture. The learning begins with the adult-accompanied playgroups where education & parenting combine for optimal learning results.
For young students to do well in school and to truly come to know the Chinese culture, they must be bilingual. To learn a second language as an adult can be filled with apprehension and frustration. Children, however, have none of these barriers to learning. As their brains develop during the formative years, they are exceptionally open to learning two languages. The early programmes at the Centre will help them be successful in both areas.
The Chengzhu Mandarin Centre is based on the Julia Gabriel methodology of instruction. A core principle of this methodology is that learning should be fun and take place in a nurturing environment where each individual child is valued and respected. Lessons are taught using interactive fun activities. Drama, music, role playing, puppets and story telling make learning fun for the children. Not only do they learn Mandarin, they gain self confidence while their creativity and imagination flourish.
The adult/accompanied programmes start with six months of age and go through age 3 1/2. These programmes are divided into the Play Nest for ages 6 to 18 months, and then the Play Club for ages 18 months to 3 1/2 years. As in any of the programmes offered by the Centre, the lessons are age appropriate. Educators know that during the first 18 months of life, children are learning the basics of language, even before they have the ability to speak. The Play Nest programme will use music, puppets and story time to introduce the young students to Chinese culture and language. This programme builds a strong foundation for future learning at the Play Club level.
When the students are 18 months old they transfer to Play Club, where they will be taught lessons on Mandarin character recognition. This curriculum is pre-writing and pre-reading and prepares students for the next preschool level. The method of making learning fun will be reflected in the home environment. Since a parent or other caregiver is present at all sessions, they will come to appreciate and practice the concept of fun learning.
This holistic approach makes the lessons more effective. A child who has been given the gift of freedom to learn, has a good chance of being successful in future endeavors as an adolescent and adult. A child who participates in sessions at the Chengzhu Mandarin Centre will also be bilingual and have firm roots in the culture of their country of origin.