Singapore is a predominantly English-speaking country, with over 80% of the population using English as the primary language in our daily life. Given that Chinese is one of the academic subjects taught in Singapore schools, it is understandable that many parents will turn to Chinese tuition to improve their primary school child’s grades.
It is a tedious uphill climb of the “Great Mandarin Wall” for parents to get their children to master the language if mandarin is not spoken at home.
English is now the world’s common language with a deep embedment in youth’s popular media such as pop culture, media and literature. It is harder for Singapore’s children today to learn Chinese than students in the past.
As Asian parents, we know the distinct advantages of effectively bilingual children: more promising career prospects in large economies such as China or Taiwan when they eventually enter the workforce.
Here are four ideas if you are looking for ways to improve your primary school child’s Chinese language during the school holidays.
Participate in Immersive and Fun Chinese Holiday Activities
While most Singapore parents will enrol their children in sports camps or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) enrichment programmes, the year-end school holiday is an excellent opportunity to increase your child’s exposure and appreciation of the Chinese language.
The Singapore Hokkien Huay Kuan offers Chinese language improvement and enrichment programmes for preschool and primary school children. You can also consider immersive Chinese holiday day camps curated by Singapore Chinese Language Centres, incorporating interactive formats such as story-telling, arts and drama, and field trips to stimulate your child’s interest in the language.
Engage a Good Quality Chinese Home Tutor in Singapore
Hiring a Chinese home tutor can help address your child’s specific Chinese language learning needs and bridge gaps in their language understanding. The Singapore MOE year-end school holiday offers the best opportunity to focus and learn with a home tutor because your child is not distracted by learning the syllabus in school.
Good quality and experienced home tutors can adapt their teaching methods according to your child’s learning style; they’ll give undivided attention and coaching to help your child progress in their Chinese language.
This can be a “life-saving solution” if your family is a monolingual household with no one with whom the child can consult for Chinese learning. Perhaps your child is struggling with the subject in school or is taking PSLE next year- it is advisable to start her on primary school Chinese tuition during the holidays as some language skills take time to develop, such as composition writing and learning Chinese vocabulary words.
You can always consult with a home tuition agency in Singapore, where an experienced coordinator will understand your requirements to find tutors for your selection at no cost.
Give Reward to Increase Consumption of Chinese Language Media at Home
Nothing beats self-motivation and a good home environment when it comes to learning. Just like how you incentivize your child to do well in school with a reward, the same concept can be applied to their Chinese language studies at home.
Reward your child with their favourite snacks or extra playtime for speaking in mandarin or reading several pages of Chinese language books. Surround your child with Chinese language media in your home environment. These could include story books, comics, magazines, YouTube videos, local channel 8 drama and news, audiobooks, songs, and even learning applications. You can also start with bilingual materials to slowly ease their acceptance.
Remember to keep the resources age-appropriate and exciting for your child, as they are more likely to engage with them.
Include the Chinese Language in Your Family Life
A vital social aspect to improving languages is evident when a child gets ample opportunities to hear and speak a language in a natural environment. Create opportunities at home for your child to use mandarin daily. For example, you could start using more mandarin when communicating with them at home or assign a parent to use only mandarin when talking to them.
You may also increase the fun factor by having mandarin family games night, such as Chinese charades, playing Guess-Who or taboo in Mandarin, or organising a family scavenger hunt in Chinese. Alternatively, gather a few parents and organise a few sessions of primary school Chinese tuition learning programme at home. This will expose your child to other like-minded children who are enthusiastic about learning the Chinese language, providing them with an excellent opportunity to socialise and have fun while picking up the language.
It’s never too late to start brushing up on your child’s Chinese language. Besides Chinese tuition, there are some fun and interactive ways to help your primary school child improve their Chinese.
Make use of the school holiday to build your child’s confidence in the language and they’ll head back to school with a refreshed interest and greater motivation to excel in their Chinese language.
If you’re looking for Chinese language tuition to help your primary school child but need help knowing where to start, contact a reputable home tuition agency in Singapore for a free consultation. Chinese is like any other language, best learned through practice in a fun and enjoyable setting. So go ahead and give some of these methods a try.