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English verses Bilingual Preschool Programs

  1. #1
    mos1021 is offline Registered User
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    English verses Bilingual Preschool Programs

    Can anyone provide some information about the difference between bilingual and English preschool programs? We are from the US and our 3 year old doesn't have any Chinese language background. One of the schools we are looking at divides the instruction evenly between Chinese and English in the bilingual program. Does this mean she will be learning new concepts in Chinese as well as English? The English option offers instruction in English and a 20 minute Chinese lesson per day. Any experience, advice would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    personally, i feel that new languages can only ever open doors, never close them. if up to me, i would always choose the bilingual programme. i actually took it a step further and enrolled both of my kids in cantonese kindergarten that only has a short english class every day. my older son is now in cantonese primary school.

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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Hi there. I agree with carang. Also, you need to remember that the "new concepts" children learn in kindergarten at 3-years-old in HK are pretty basic. They will begin learning to write numbers, letters and new very simply characters but they won't be doing things like mathematics (that comes in K2). So, your child will cope marvelously in a bilingual class--he/she would probably even cope well in a Chinese immersion class. It is so different for little children with languages--they pick them up FAST--especially before the age of 5. Go for the bilingual route for sure. You won't regret it.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

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    Gabriel ma is offline Registered User
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    My boys hv classmates from Europe and Japan. The kids can understand and read Chinese very well while their parents do not know any Chinese.
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    Liquorice is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    he/she would probably even cope well in a Chinese immersion class.
    This is what we are considering with my son; a local kindergarten. I am a bit worried about complete immersion though. Concerned that it might be quite traumatic in a new place, attending on his own, having to develop new relationships, yet not able to understand anything at all. I know he would learn quickly but that wouldn't change the challenge of the first few weeks or months. I feel I ought to give him more exposure or immersion in some way before he starts, he's only 18 months now. Necessary?

  6. #6
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liquorice View Post
    This is what we are considering with my son; a local kindergarten. I am a bit worried about complete immersion though.
    If yours is a normal healthy child (no learning difficulties), then read some research and articles to make yourself feel better about it:
    http://www.multilingualchildren.org/tips/immersion.html

    Concerned that it might be quite traumatic in a new place, attending on his own, having to develop new relationships, yet not able to understand anything at all. I know he would learn quickly but that wouldn't change the challenge of the first few weeks or months. I feel I ought to give him more exposure or immersion in some way before he starts, he's only 18 months now. Necessary?
    Completely unnecessary for the child. Perhaps it will make you feel better though...
    http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/0304fortune.html

    I have 3 kids and put them thru 6 bouts of immersion, first Cantonese and then Mandarin while English was the home language; we as parents were unable to help the kids with their studies but they got thru it. We all have the bruises from the experience but it has been a very worthwhile journey.
    Personally, I would stay away from bilingual schools for early education. I much prefer full immersion as I've seen kids in bilingual programs and they generally become lazy with one or the other language.
    Last edited by howardcoombs; 06-15-2012 at 09:49 AM.

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