How Chinese Shows Up in the Classroom: A Letter from Yingli

Dear Parents,

I am very excited to start the Chinese (Mandarin) program this coming school year! Before our new Chinese program starts, you may have a lot of questions to ask. The question everyone has is: “how will TCS students age 3 – grade 2 learn Chinese inside the classroom?”

I believe that each student is different, each teacher is different, each person is different, and every language is different.  Yet, in this globalized world, people of all different races, ethnicities, and backgrounds connect, intersect, and interact. As a passionate Chinese teacher, I believe that teaching Chinese as a world language should provide students with ongoing and varied opportunities to further develop their full range of language skills and culture proficiencies.

In Chinese class, our three-year-old students will think and learn through their five senses by using objects  in the world around them. We know that young kids have amazing learning abilities. They can learn language through singing songs, nursery rhymes, and having daily routines. They also can learn language through hands-on activities, dance, and movement. In the Chinese classroom, children are encouraged to manipulate physical props or toys and move around while listening and absorbing new vocabulary. Singing, movement, and playing with beautiful and colorful visual aids and props are the best methods to teach younger kids a foreign language.

Our 3’s/4’s and 4’s/5’s students develop memories and use symbols while learning. At this age, children are introduced to new vocabulary, based on early childhood themes in a fully immersive setting. Chinese class components will include basic conversation, music, dance and movement, interactive storytelling, dramatic play, hands-on activities, crafts, and games for introducing and reinforcing new vocabulary and phrases. They will learn Chinese through beautiful and colorful age-appropriates teaching materials and aids.  Repetition is key for all younger learners, so there will be plenty of songs, rhymes, raps, repetitions, and a lot of action involved. Repeated actions and movements help them to stay focused and lengthen their attention spans.

Our kindergarten through second grade students can organize information in more logical and systematic ways. At this age, our young scholars take theme-based learning further by classifying objects on more complex levels and testing out new ideas.  Chinese class components will include conversation, dramatic play, logical thinking activities, as well as basic reading and writing. Through meaningful and age- appropriate classroom activities such as role-plays, conversational practices, interviews, projects, music, dance, kung fu, crafts, cooking, calligraphy painting, interactive storytelling, story reading, hands-on activities, games, cultural artifacts, movies, and field trips, students can gain a better understanding of Chinese people and connect and compare Chinese culture with their native culture at the same time.

We all know that happy kids learn more. So, learning through play is what I try to accomplish everyday with my students.

I look forward to starting a joyful and meaningful Chinese program with your child!

Have a wonderful summer break!

Yingli Laoshi