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Mandarin for Munchkins

  1. #1
    PreciousBaby is offline Registered User
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    Mandarin for Munchkins

    Has anyone joined their Mandarin playgroup? Their fee's quite hefty, I wonder if it's worth the $$.

  2. #2
    rani's Avatar
    rani is offline Administrator
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    PB,

    We haven't joined the class but they are having a trial class on the 12th which we're planning on going to:

    More info here:
    http://www.geobaby.com/com/option,co...,12/Itemid,26/
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

  3. #3
    PreciousBaby is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for the info. I think I'll go check'em out.

  4. #4
    lucinda_k is offline Registered User
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    Mandarin ofr Munchkins

    My son takes lessons from Kate, she started Mandarin for Munchkins. He's in a semi-private group (just 3 kids) at our home. He loves it and looks forwards to it. He absolutely adores her! He's been taking lessons (actually its more play & learn than lessons) with her for over 6 months now and the main achievement I personally feel is that she's managed to get him to like mandarin. I tried to introduce it to him myself because I know a little (not much!) but he resisted. Did not want to know. Now, he enjoys it when I read him Chinese rhymes, he had a really pleased look on his face when I say "Can you count to 10 in Chinese?" and he does. He especially likes her 'live mandarin" sessions where once in 3 months she takes them to the zoo, or park or beach, or playground etc and they practice what they've learnt in a real-life environment.

    It is a little costlier I think that other places but considering how stringently she interviews and tests the potential teachers, I think its worth it. I know for a fact that even in well-known pre-schools with Mandarin lessons, their requirement is just native speakers. Kate's requirements are that they're qualified, native speakers, that they preferably are moms, or have experience teaching children. And she tests them before hiring them. So she actually pays her teachers "top dollar" to make sure she gets the best. I guess that's why her courses are a little more expensive than others. The other two moms in our group agree and we're always saying between us that she's really good.

    Anyway, sounds like I take commission from her!! I don't, really. I just think she's really good and there's just so much rubbish out there.

    Check out her trial class on Saturday, 12 March. She'll be there to answer any queries and concerns.

  5. #5
    PreciousBaby is offline Registered User
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    Mandarin for Munchkins

    Lucinda,

    Thanks for the info, that's very helpful. If they're effective in teaching and getting the child to be interested in the language, I think that would be worth the premium. My son had attended a Mandarin playgroup for almost 6 months but did not pick up much Chinese there because the teacher spoke as much English as Mandarin. Now he's attending another Mandarin playgroup and is picking up more Mandarin but my son doesn't seem to be interested in whatever the teacher was doing, so the quest for a good Mandarin playgroup continues....

  6. #6
    lucinda_k is offline Registered User
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    mandarin for munchkins

    No problems. I hope you find a place/service that'll be good for your son. A lot of times, I think its also a matter of how well the child relates or takes to the teacher. Maybe Mandarin for Munchkins will be the right fit, maybe not. Its hard as kids are so different, aren't they?

    Realistically though, it also helps if there is a Mandarin environment at home (even a small one!).

    Like, I am kinda lazy and when in height of laziness, I always revert to English because I am more comfortable with it and its easier for me. So while my son knows many words in Mandarin, he rarely volunteers the word in Mandarin unless I ask him specifically. Although now he has a few favourites - so 'ice cream' and 'giraffe' are always referred to in Chinese, never English! But no sentences yet - and I don't expect any just because he hardly hears it in normal, everyday life. But he will automatically say 'teacher', 'hello' and 'goodbye' to Kate in Mandarin.

    The other two kids' parents are non-Chinese speaking. But Kate makes tapes of the words learnt in each class so the parents can play them to the kids and learns along.

    But at almost 3 years old, they will speak in English cos its what they know well. Even in the class, they will always speak to Kate in English. But they totally understand when she's giving instructions in Chinese. She only ever speaks Mandarin to them unless they're seriously mishaving and are doing stuff that's really naughty and could hurt themselves or each other - like hitting (it happens!). But they totally understand what's being said to them. For our semi-private class (small groups) its total immersion as well, so no adults in the room (we can sneak and watch form somewhere else but cannot join the group). Its to make sure the parents (or helpers who take them) don't speak in English to the kids. So they only hear Mandarin for that hour. Biigger groups, though, they will be adults accompanying the child, I'm told. But adults are always asked to refrain from speaking at all except to join in in Mandarn. I think that helps as well.

    The way the class is structured, its more learn through play. Like last week, Kate was trying to get them to practice counting and the words for 'hide' and 'find', so she played hide and seek with the kids. And they loved to take turns and cover their eyes and started to count in Mandarin - they didn't feel it was a class at all I am sure. And coincidentally that day was my husband's birthday, and he had a delivery of balloons (the classes are held at my place). Of course the children got all excited and started to run around wanting to play with the balloons and Kate turned that into an opporutnity to practice their colours-knowledge and to ask for things in complete sentences. So each child was asked which colour ballon they wanted and they had to ask for it in Chinese to get one. And they all cooperated. Then they were asked to name the colour the other's had. All fun and games.

    But it did take a while. The first few classes were tough. They just didn't want to know, only wanted to play with the toys around the house, and to fight over the toys (!) but all the parents were warned that the first 4 classes will be hard. I think what was good about our class was that she was able to go with the kids' flow - so even if she had a lesson planned, if they were insistent on playing with dinosaurs or whatever that day, she played that with them (in Chinese) and just let them be 2-year olds and then they started to really like her and follow her lead.

    I ramble!! I'm just feeling extra positive about my son's Mandarin learning this evening because while watching teletubbies this evening during dinner (yes, I let him watch TV while he eats - I know its terrible, how else can i get him to sit still!!!), he started to count (voluntarily) in Mandarin as the tubbies were flying out from their little hole in the ground! Then he turned to me with a big grin on his face! My jaw just fell to the floor.


    Good luck with your search!

  7. #7
    salami is offline Registered User
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    would you mind sending me more info about munchkins? I am looking for mandarin playgroup for my boy too. many thanks.
    [email protected]

  8. #8
    PreciousBaby is offline Registered User
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    You can call them at this number: 2486 9062

    Make sure you meet with the teacher who'll be teaching your son. I found Kate (the founder, I think) quite enthusiastic when teaching the children, but the other teachers .....

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