What is the age group of children enrolling in your immersion program?
In general, the immersion program at Chinese with Meggie Language School accepts children from 1.5 to 5 years old. Children over 5 may enroll in our elementary program. However, the above rule only provides general guidance. Depending on a child’s maturity and his/her sensitiveness to a new language, sometimes, a child over 5 may work very well in our immersion program. Therefore, we place a child in a certain program depending on his/her unique situation. As a matter of fact, we are more than happy to match every child with the program that is most suitable for him/her.
Do you teach Chinese reading and writing in your immersion program?
We provide two kinds of immersion programs: the Beginning Immersion Program and the Advanced Immersion Program. Our Beginning Immersion Program is designed for children without previous exposure to Chinese. It focuses on listening and speaking. However, after children develop their fundamental skills in listening and speaking, they can move on to our Advanced Immersion Program, where they are introduced to Chinese character reading. And after establishing a solid foundation in Chinese reading, children are introduced to Chinese writing. Every time a child moves to the next level, we make sure that the child is ready for it. For more information about these two programs, please click here.
My child does not understand any Chinese, can he really understand you when you are talking to him in Chinese?
Believe in young children’s ability in acquiring a language. They are sensitive in distinguishing sounds and we apply various classroom skills in helping them understand the language. For example, children are required to take off their shoes when entering the classroom. We point to their shoes and say “脱鞋(Take off your shoes)” repeatedly. They will figure out the meaning by themselves and remember it after several times of repetitions. Throughout the class, we design a lot of such situations through games, and help our children accumulate their knowledge in Chinese.
If my child is absent for one class, do you provide a make-up class?
Yes, we do offer make-up classes. Parents should contact the teacher directly to make arrangement for a make-up class. Language learning requires consistent commitment. Based on our previous experiences, even though it is only missing one single class, the child may encounter difficulties when he/she tries to keep up with other classmates in the next class. Therefore, on one hand, parents should make sure that the child does not miss classes too often, while on the other, we provide make-up class for absent students.
Do you teach simplified or traditional Chinese?
We teach simplified Chinese. Chinese characters have gone through many changes during its long history. The current two versions of Chinese characters are both adaptations of ancient characters. Nowadays, traditional Chinese is mainly used in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, while simplified Chinese is more widely-used in mainland China as a result of language planning by the Chinese government in the 1950’s. It is also used as the official Chinese language in the United Nations. We choose to teach simplified Chinese since it is more widely-accepted.
Does my child need to be potty-trained?
Not necessary. Children enrolled in our immersion program are always very little, and they sometimes still use a diaper. Parents can prepare the diaper for the child, and our teacher will change it based on parents’ request. As a matter of fact, “diaper-changing time” is also a good situation for our children to acquire Chinese related to this topic.
Will learning a second language impede my child’s development in the first language? Or my child is already bilingual at home, will learning Chinese as a third language confuse him/her?
The answer is quite the opposite. Countries such as Singapore, Belgium are officially bi/multilingual, and children in those countries acquire more than one language naturally. In opposite to confusing children, research shows that learning a second language actually enhances children’s understanding of their first language, such as its structure. This is true based on our previous teaching experiences. We have quite a few children who are already bilingual at home with Chinese as their third language. It is amazing that those children pick up Chinese faster than monolingual children.Chinese learning is good because of the nature of Chinese language. Unlike English, Chinese is a pictograph. People use their right brain to recognize Chinese characters. Therefore, learning Chinese is a good balanced brain exercise.
Why do you keep your class small?
By keeping a small class size, the lesson can be more group-specific, and every individual child can get more attention from the teacher.
In addition to keeping the class size small, it is possible for us to place a child into another class if we think he/she will have better learning outcomes with the change. When the personality and learning habits of children in a group fit, the group has the best learning outcome. Therefore, smaller group size also helps teachers identify children’s characteristics and form better class learning groups.
I do not speak Mandarin myself, how can I help my child?
Parents’ support plays an essential role in children’s language progress. First, parents should be very serious about class attendance. Language learning requires consistency. Too many absences may impede children’s confidence and motivation when they find it difficult to keep up with other classmates due to missing classes. Second, parents can make sure that when children encounter questions, they will come to the teacher. For our elementary program, we assign weekly picture book-making homework. Through working with children, parents can have a sense of how much they have learned. Third, parents can expose children to the Chinese language environment on a regular basis, such as taking children to cultural events, Chinese restaurants, or playing Chinese nursery songs at home.
Besides the above suggestions, if you want to progress together with your child in Chinese, it will be very beneficial for them. Even though sometimes it is really hard for an adult to pick up a new language, parents can always begin from Pinyin. Here is a blog written by one of our teachers describing the topic in detail http://www.chinesewithmeggie.com/blog/2011/08/how-to-help-my-child-if-i-do-not-speak-chinese-ii/.
Do you provide snacks during class, what if my child is a vegan?
Yes. We provide simple snacks and water during class snack time. Parents can also prepare foods or drinks for children to be taken to class. Parents are asked to specify any food allergies or diet habits at enrollment, and our teachers will follow the rules strictly.
Do you do background checks?
Yes. All of our teachers do fingerprints and criminal background checks through Fingerprint-based Applicant Clearinghouse of Texas affiliated to Texas Department of Public Safety.