With language immersion preschools, such as Chinese preschool, your children can naturally acquire a non-English language–with no real effort on their part. Through their preschool program, they’ll be exposed to music, dance, stories, crafts, traditions, and other cultural activities, all in (or mostly in, depending on the level of immersion) Chinese (Mandarin, most likely).
At Language Preschools, we’re advocates of your children learning any second, or third, language. We’re impartial. There are amazing benefits to all languages–and to language learning in general. And although we ourselves haven’t ventured into learning Chinese just yet, we are fully aware of its value. Keep reading to find out what that value is!
Who is Chinese preschool for?
- Monolingual (one-language-speaking) families who have no or limited experience with Chinese
- Bilingual or multilingual families who don’t yet speak Chinese
- Families who already speak Chinese but who want additional out-of-home support with the language
Here are 8 reasons why your kids need Chinese preschool:
1. Chinese is a “hard” language (by most English-speaking standards, but keep in mind that “hard” is relative). Maybe you, as a parent, can never see yourself learning the language due to its perceived difficulty. So what better time than now, at preschool age, for your child to master, at a developmentally appropriate level, this so-called tough language?
2. People who are familiar with Chinese say it’s “easier than you think.” I know this may sound crazy and impossible, but imagine a language without verbs, plurals, tenses, conjugations, and subject-verb agreement. That’s Mandarin Chinese for you. Also, the number of characters actually used in communication is quite small compared to the 80,000+ total Chinese characters available. Learning this language is sounding more enticing by the paragraph, eh?
3. Chinese is the most spoken language across the world. Being able to communicate with more people is one of the most obvious benefits of language learning. In the case of Chinese, that’s being able to communicate with perhaps a billion more people worldwide–not just in China, Singapore, Taiwan, or other area countries where the language is largely spoken. People speak Chinese everywhere!
4. Your children will connect with the culture on a deeper level. When your family, or at least children, know Chinese, a visit to an authentic Chinese restaurant becomes more than just an opportunity for a delicious meal. Young children may not be able to read Mandarin, but perhaps they can exchange greetings with Mandarin-speaking staff. There are, of course, many other ways to celebrate the culture. Bigger cities will have cultural events that are open to the public. These events are great ways to bring the language alive for your kids.
5. Chinese looks really good on a resume. When your kids are attending their Chinese preschool, it’s hard to imagine them as graduating high school and college seniors. Life moves quickly, though, and before you can blink an eye, they’ll be onto that stage of life. If you can help them maintain their Chinese abilities throughout elementary, middle, and high schools (and there are many resources to assist), your children will have a definite edge on their peers.
6. Chinese looks good on a resume in part because of China’s successful economy. After the United States, China has the second largest economy in the world. Between 2017 and 2018, China’s economy grew faster than the United States’. Knowing Mandarin could pave the way for a lucrative and interesting career in international business (or any number of other fields of study, for that matter).
7. Chinese activates a part of the brain that English doesn’t. That is, the right hemisphere of the brain, according to researchers who published a 2015 study entitled “Cross-language differences in the brain network subserving intelligible speech.”
8. China has a rich culture, built upon one of the world’s oldest living civilizations. By giving your child the opportunity to learn Chinese, you may witness a history buff in the making. You may also be inspiring a future world traveler and adventurer. Pretty cool, huh?
Where can you find a Chinese preschool?
To find a Chinese preschool in your area, the first step is to do a search here on LanguagePreschools.com. We have identified many Chinese immersion programs across the United States, but we’re still adding preschools daily. If you don’t find one in your area, that’s not to say that there isn’t one.
The next step is to consult with Google or your search engine of choice. Type “Chinese preschool” and the name of your city or town, and see what the results are. If “preschool” doesn’t return anything of value, try alternate terms like “childcare” or “daycare.”
What are some other sources for teaching children Chinese?
We at Language Preschools are active on Instagram (check out our @LanguagePreschools account), so naturally we turn to Instagram for some of the best sources for teaching Chinese to children. Here are some accounts to follow, whether your kids are (or will be) enrolled in Chinese preschool or not:
- @teachkidschinese: Virginia is the author of “So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese” and also writes about Chinese/English bilingual homeschooling.
- @handsonchinesefun: This account is managed by a Singaporean mom living in the U.S. She’s passionate about teaching Chinese to her son and special ed students at a Mandarin immersion school.
- @chalkacademy: Betty is relearning Chinese with her kids. She leads a Montessori-inspired home with hands-on Chinese activities. She also posts Chinese book reviews.
- @hello_chineasy: Chineasy is a Chinese learning methodology and company, with products ranging from books to tiles to a mobile app.
In addition to making connections with and learning from the experts on Instagram, we suggest exploring YouTube for a host of other resources. The YouTube advantage is being able to hear different tones, observing the way Chinese speakers move their mouths, and getting some quick, actionable tips.
It’s amazing how many language learning tutorials and lessons are available on YouTube these days, and many of them are designed for kids. (Sadly, many are not, though, so we always recommend close parental supervision when your child is on YouTube.)
Thanks for reading to the end!
We hope we’ve given you some nuggets of value through this blog post–and that you’ll consider learning more about the language preschool options (Chinese or not) in your area.
Don’t forget about your eBook, The Language Immersion School Handbook: Advice from a Monolingual Mom Raising a Bilingual Child, which is FREE and one download away here.