Kidstartnow holiday camp – journey to love a language

After watching her sister attend Mandarin class for almost half a year, B finally got her chance to attend ‘school’ there too!

Gorgeous shell corner in class – first day of camp

At the start of the year, she kept asking, “Can I go too?”, when we went to drop her big sister off.

But there aren’t classes for N1 yet, so when the holiday camp also catered to those from age 3 onwards, she was thrilled to be able to join.

We received an invitation card to the 4 session holiday camp, sent directly to our mailbox, addressed to B, which I thought was a sweet gesture. It might even be the first piece of mail she has ever received!

The cute characters in their proprietary animated storybooks


 

When the day arrived, B experienced some separation anxiety, but the capable and cheery teacher managed to calm her down. There was another child who was a bit teary, but the teacher took it all in her stride, obviously experienced with preschoolers.  The class soon went chugging full steam ahead!

On the first session, the kids were given cute fish and crab headgear to wear, to enthuse them about the session.  They then went into a beautifully decorated class, based on the underwater theme.  There were cuddly soft-toys to make the kids feel at home too.  It hardly felt like school!

Like their main lessons, there was an animated story to introduce new words, and to encourage children to respond in Mandarin. (You can sign up for a free trial to access a story too – the characters are very cute!) The main story, I hear, is about a misunderstood shark, and hence there’s an underlying message that we shouldn’t judge others by their appearance! A great lesson indeed.

The lovely teacher with B

The teacher-in-charge was very bubbly, and her enthusiasm as she taught was infectious indeed! There is no better way to get a child to love a language than living out how much you love it yourself.  In fact, I credit my own love for the language to teachers who were very genuinely passionate about the language and about teaching it to the next generation.

At the holiday camp, the 2 hour sessions are varied, including games and taking turns to role-play.  B would emerge from each class, delighted and bouncing around. Like her sister, she loved the concept of earning ‘gold coins’ through participating in class, and the stickers she could bring back in exchange. I’m always amazed at how something simple can be so motivational!

Kidstartnow prides itself in partnering parents in getting their children to love Mandarin.  We appreciated the emails that would be sent after a lesson, directing parents to the animated storybook of the week.  K & B love watching those stories together, and it’s a great way to reinforce the new words learnt that week.

Some great Mandarin books

The other thing that I feel really helps with learning to love a language, is being surrounded by books.   Since this post is all about loving Mandarin, I’m happy to share some favourites.

Don’t these little pop-up books look delightful? I’m constantly amazed at how they have been made.  They really pop-up in unimaginable ways. It’s a Japanese series that has been translated into Mandarin. The words on each page are simple, so this is great for any kid from birth to age 5. I think the pop-up would seriously impress a one-year-old. Magical.

Another book that I love, which you can see below, is another Japanese storybook about a girl and her toy fox.  The story is so heartwarming, and makes me want to buy all the other books she authored too.

The next book you see below, is translated from an American author. I loved the charmingly simple illustrations, and the easy sentences.  Most suitable for reading aloud to 1-3 year olds.  I bought the whole series of 9 books.

For older children, who prefer listening to more developed story lines, this series 不一样的卡梅拉 is highly recommended. I have all twelve books, heh.

I loved the stories myself, which tell of adventure, and debunking stereotypes of how a girl should behave. The protagonist is a gutsy chick, who dreams of journeying beyond her kampong (haha).

This book is translated from French. Initially, I wondered why all the recommended books weren’t original works by ethnic Chinese.  However, I soon decided that a good story, translated well, is fantastic in all sorts of ways, so why limit oneself to an author’s nationality?

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that all the book links here are to dangdang.com, a China site.  I bought my books through a spree, but I’ve heard that you can easily buy direct too. Just be prepared to wait about a month for it to be shipped over. The prices are nothing short of amazing, even after factoring shipping in. I have no affiliate commission to that site, but as with all good things – must share!

If you’d like another list, there are more wonderful sets of books in this review we did last year.

So, back to regular local ‘immersion’.  If you’re searching for a place that can enthuse your children about Mandarin, do check out Kidstartnow.  Am happy to see that since we started early this year, their classes have become very well-attended!  Even though they are not located in the heartlands, it’s easy to drive there, and lots of parking is easily available in the new building it’s located in.

Give them a call, or PM them – responses are always friendly and prompt.

Kidstartnow

  • Address: CT Hub, 2 Kallang Avenue, #02-09, Singapore 339407
  • Phone: (+65) 6444-8280 / 6444-6310 / 9820-7272
  • Email: enquiry@kidstartnow.com

Note: We received a discount on the holiday camp for the purposes of this review.

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