We received a review invitation for B to attend KidStartNow’s December holiday camp, and a cute Christmas-themed card was even sent to our postbox, seeking her help as “snatcher wolf” had stolen some presents! What a fun way to pique their interest in the upcoming camp.
On the first day of camp, we were wow-ed by how the entire centre had been redecorated in the theme of the new holiday camp theme which relates to the Christmas season. I loved how the camp classroom was transformed into a wintry wood, and the larger-than-life reindeer on the door (intricately designed and put together by teacher Marissa) was simply too cute!
B was happy to trot into class alone from the first day this time (how she’s grown since her first camp!), joining her new classmates. B understands a little mandarin, but hardly speaks it of her own volition. Hence, I was hoping that through a little immersion via this holiday camp, she will warm up more to the language.
Am not unduly concerned anyhow, since I recall that at this age, K was speaking very little mandarin too. Ah the wisdom of a second-time parent (who has learnt to shed many unnecessary anxieties). Our aim is to have her enjoy the language, and see it as an exciting new world that she can open a door to an explore, rather than as a dreary subject to overcome in school.
The holiday camp sessions (with a short water break in between) are scoped to be a fun introduction to the language, so they learnt cheery Christmas-themed songs, watched snippets of their proprietary animated storybooks (where they begin to understand why snatcher wolf stole the presents), and practiced speaking simple Mandarin phrases through simple role-play. Nothing like some positive peer pressure to encourage kids to practice speaking a foreign language (which is what it is to many ethnically-Chinese kids these days, oops)!
The 2-hour long session comprises a short water-and-toilet break in between, and I’m amazed and glad that B was engaged throughout. I don’t think I could replicate such a session, and it’s always easier for a child to weasel out of a ‘teaching session’ by their parent, so I suppose some things are always best left to the professionals, not to mention the economies of scale, given the amount of preparation needed to conduct such a class.
Separately, we were delighted that KidStartNow set up a library corner many months ago. When it comes to developing an affinity for a language, nothing beats exposure to a wide variety of books, especially fictional picture books, for this age group.
The books that they curated for loan by their students were wonderful! We are so pleased to have access to this resource, since much as we would love to buy up all the good books in the world, space and money are very real constraints, haha. K always enjoys popping by the library to pick out a book to bring home every week.
The girls’ favourites include the hard cover tactile book series (in the top left and bottom right quadrants of the photo below), since every page presents a clever surprise, and the little stories read well.
It is interesting that we’ve read more book translated from European languages into Mandarin, than those translated into English! I suppose that reflects the reach of the language, and the readily available resources in China, as well as the demand for high quality children’s literature in Mandarin.
Overall, I must say that I’m heartened to see how popular KidStartNow has become, since it first opened its doors barely a year ago. After our first review, we were glad that K liked the teacher and class so much that we had signed her up for classes throughout the year, though the school is not really located in the vicinity of our home.
These days, when we drop-off and pick the kids up, the parents’ area is full, and children of all races can be seen. I was especially touched to see a British couple, with Asian children whom I guess they adopted, bring their children for class, even sitting in with them. Adoptive families have a special place in my heart, and I think it’s just so sweet that these lovely parents have taken the time and are devoting resources to having their children learn an Asian language.
So if you’re looking for a mandarin class with teachers that love the language and care about transmitting this love to your children (instead of churning out worksheets and going through drills), call them now, so your kid can start! (Puns intended haha.)
- Address: CT Hub, 2 Kallang Avenue, #02-09, Singapore 339407
- Phone: (+65) 6444-8280 / 6444-6310 / 9820-7272
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org