Such a big reward to see our Leap Start children develop dispositions for learning a second language. In the language sessions, the children express curiosity by asking the teacher how to pronounce their names and different items in Mandarin.
On the other hand, the Mandarin-speaking children in the centre become little lingo tutors to teach their friends and Educators speaking Mandarin. Children who are motivated in literacy learning are also beneficial to their confidence and sense of belonging.
Besides learning to speak another language, it is important for the children to build knowledge about different cultural customs. To promote children’s cultural competence, the children investigated the stories behind the moon festival and lunar new year. They read storybooks, watched videos and sang songs.
They engaged in a range of hands-on activities such as making mooncakes, lanterns and firecrackers. They explored the traditional Chinese calligraphy tools including the pen brush, paperweight and inkstone. The children also learned to write simple Chinese hieroglyphic symbols.
We believe that children learn through play as they discover, experiment and corporate with others. The language sessions adopted the inquiry approach to foster children’s problem-solving skills and sense of wonder.
For instance, when learning the Mandarin pronunciation of different animals and insects; our children visited our centre pets Lily and Ruby the frogs. We read the Chinese storybook ‘Tadpoles Looking for Their Mother‘ and looked into the life cycle specimens of a frog.
Furthermore, the children had the opportunity to observe how the caterpillars transform into chrysalises and hatch out as beautiful butterflies. They were excited to feed the butterflies and release them to nature.
Some children became great artists when participating in observational drawings while others loved to be storytellers to enact the story plot from the picturebook ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar‘ using the felt storyboard.
In the future, we are looking forward to providing more fun and real-life experiences for our Leap Start children to learn Mandarin and explore the world.