How to support your child's language learning
Every beginning of the year is marked by a very special event, very dear to us and to many families in London: The Chinese New Year.
One of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, the Chinese New Year shows a beautiful part of the Chinese culture: its history and ancient traditions.
If you live in London, you might have attended the celebrations taking place through Chinatown and Trafalgar Square at least once. Children are in awe of the gigantic dragon and its traditional dance carried out by a highly skilled team of performers. Delicious treats, mesmerising costumes and fireworks are just a few of the eye and soul treats you can enjoy during the festivities. But there is so much more to that.
Maybe you are one of the many parents who would like their children to learn Chinese? Maybe you are a native speaker, or your partner is, or maybe you have just returned from a wonderful experience in East Asia and would love your little one to continue their learning?
While taking regular classes is essential for language learning outside its actual context, looking deeper into the origins and history of a culture will help you create the context you need in order to instill love and create genuine interest.
You can help and guide your child in their learning of Mandarin Chinese or any other language in many ways:
- play music while you have a snack or dinner;
- watch cartoons and age-appropriate films set in a Chinese related context;
- read books - you have so much to choose from! - tales and legends, folk stories and myths, attractive illustrations etc.;
- art and craft activities - paper cutting, painting, simple pottery, red packets, lantern making, just to name a few ;
- events and workshops for children and families;
- spend time with native speakers if you are lucky to have them as family members or friends;
- cook and eat Chinese food - all kinds of love can be sustained by a happy stomach! :)
- DO ALL THESE THINGS yourself! - you are the person your little one looks up to.
We can not separate a language from its culture. We believe that if you really want to learn a language, get to know the culture. And vice versa.
In November 2016, we had the pleasure to start this conversation with the lovely team at Snowflake Books. They are dedicated to bringing one of the beautiful languages of the Chinese in a unique way, full of colour and story-telling.
Have a look at their perfectly illustrated books for children here and give your little ones a precious gift.
Happy Chinese Learning to everyone!
Pictures on this post belong to Snowflake Books!