The Biggest Mistake Parents Make When Teaching Their Kids Chinese

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If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re facing certain difficulties in getting your child to learn Chinese. Maybe your child doesn’t have an ounce of interest in the language. Maybe your child is doing relatively okay in all of his/her other subjects, but is getting abysmal grades in Chinese. Maybe your child is highly stubborn, and replies you in English even when you speak to him or her in Mandarin.

We’ve seen many parents who, discouraged by the above scenarios, give up and admit defeat. They tell us that they’ve tried everything, and that it’s simply impossible to get their child to learn Chinese when he or she has already developed such an intense dislike of the language.

But is that really true? 9 times out of 10, it’s not…

Many parents say that they’ve tried everything, but what they really mean is that they’ve tried the same thing over and over again.

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Let’s say they rely on flashcards to get their child to memorise Chinese vocabulary. They might try using the flashcards at the start of the week, only to be met with a refusal to learn from their child. Undeterred, they try the flashcards again, this time with an external reward involved – they’ll get their child a new phone if he/she manages to improve their Chinese grades. Still no luck. They try the flashcards yet again, this time on a weekend, hoping that their child will be better rested and more open to learning. It still doesn’t work.

Instead of simply using the same teaching method under different scenarios, how about switching it up completely? Here’s our rationale behind this – hear us out…

You can’t expect different results to arise when you’re doing the same thing, over and over again. Think about it – you won’t lose weight if you don’t make changes to your exercise and eating habits. Similarly, you can’t expect to achieve that “breakthrough” with your child if you continue using outdated methods of teaching.

Continuing in that same vein, this is the one biggest mistake that parents make when teaching their kids Chinese – which is utilising the same methods that were popular 10 or 20 years ago.

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It’s 2017, and an overwhelming majority of Singaporeans speak English at home. Yes, you might argue that your children speaks Chinese when interacting with their grandparents, but that isn’t sufficient for them to familiarise themselves with the language, or to develop an interest in it. Even if both parents are bilingual, this often has no bearing on whether your child ultimately ends up accepting the Chinese language – unless you make a concerted effort to speak Chinese regularly (and this means approximately 50% of the time) at home.

How do you get children to develop an interest in Chinese, then? Simple. Refrain from any activities that involve learning through mindless repetition (死背), and instead, opt for more interactive formats of learning, such as hosting show and tells in Mandarin, and doing roleplaying exercises. Whilst these will take more effort to plan on your part, they’re significantly more engaging, and will do wonders in helping your child develop a liking for the Chinese language.

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If you want to supplement your efforts at home with Chinese enrichment classes, similarly, make sure you choose an enrichment centre which utilises interactive forms of learning over memorisation and mindless repetition. At KidStartNow, for example, we utilise a gamification system, where kids are given digital coins when they participate in class or do homework. Each student’s score is tallied up on a scoreboard that is displayed in class, and this motivates them to keep participating in an effort to achieve a “high score”.

You’d be surprised at how competitive kids can get, and how effective gamification is in motivating students to fast-track their learning. In fact, this is applicable to not just young children, but students of all ages – with similar gamification being techniques employed by leading US universities such as New York University, University of Michigan and Indiana University.

Remember: you can’t expect your children to have a radical change of heart when it comes to Chinese if you’re still sticking to outdated methods of teaching. Our system has helped over 1000 students and we are so confident in our system that we offer a 30 day full money back guarantee on our enrichment classes. So bring your child down to KidStartNow’s trial class, and you’ll be able to see for yourself.

95+% of children who go for our trial class find it extraordinarily fun and will request to come back for more sessions. Register your child for a slot today!

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Help Your Child “Level Up” In Chinese In Just 4 Days

Give us 4 days, and we’ll give you a child who loves Chinese.

This June holidays, we’re bringing back our KidStartNow Superhero June Holiday Camp by popular demand! With the astonishing difference that this camp makes on children’s attitudes towards learning Chinese in just 4 days, the camp has earned rave reviews by numerous mummy bloggers such as Says! Happy Mums, Kids R Simple and Lil Blue Bottle. This camp has consistently sold out since its inception in 2013 – so sign up early to avoid disappointment!

Here’s what mummy bloggers have to say:

All in all, our super popular camp have been highly recommended by 18 parent bloggers, and was even featured by Young Parents’ as “Enrichment class that best nurtures your child’s interest in Chinese”.

How does the Superhero Holiday Camp engage my kids?

By utilizing a fun storyline that makes children forget that they’re learning Chinese! Over four days, your child will go on a story adventure where they will meet a pair of panda superhero siblings who are constantly fighting. The siblings are forced to band together to save a baby panda from an evil robot wolf, and in doing so, they learn the importance of love and cooperation.

Every day, your child will be engaged with 30 mins of story-telling, followed by an hour of fun games and activities to reinforce materials, and end off with 30 mins of roleplaying where your child will pretend to be a character in the story and act out the dialogue (in Chinese!). It’s a great way to help your child forget they are learning Chinese.

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Before the camp even commences, your child will get postcards mailed to them. These postcards contain a teaser about the storyline, and ask your child to start thinking of ideas to save the baby panda.

What ages are the Superhero Holiday Camp suited for?

The camp is split up into two sessions, which are catered to 3-6 year olds, and 6-8 year olds respectively. Those in the younger age group will be focusing on role-playing and oral conversation in order to cultivate a strong interest in Chinese. Those in the older age group will be focusing on show and tell and word recognition, in order to boost oral confidence and brush up on vocabulary.

Role-playing and conversation camp (3-6 year olds, 4 days 2 hours per day)
– Focus on role-playing and oral conversation and not on word recognition
– More fun and less academic vs regular enrichment classes
– Develops interest in reading and learning Chinese through animated storybooks
– Max of 8 students to a class

Show and tell and word recognition camps (6-8 year olds, 4 days 2 hours per day)
– Focus is on preparing kids for show and tell in primary school by boosting vocabulary and oral confidence
– Some role-playing activities as well, together with a show and tell presentation in front of classmates on the last day
– Develops interest in reading and learning Chinese through animated storybooks
– Max of 10 students to a class

Where and when is the Superhero Holiday Camp?

We will be holding our Chinese camps at Bedok and Serangoon, and click here to see list of timings.

Class size is limited to 8 children per class for 3-6 year olds, and 10 children per class for 6-8 year olds. Slots are limited, so fill up the form to secure a place for your child now!

Sign up before 12th May to enjoy a special early-bird discount! Fill up the form to find out more!

3 Signs You’re Wasting Money On Your Child’s Chinese Enrichment

The CA1/checkpoint results are out – if your child scored badly or still dislikes learning Chinese despite having regular enrichment classes, you’ll need to seriously evaluate where things are going wrong. The good news? The school year’s not over yet – so there’s still time to course correct, and put your child on the right path and help them ace their subsequent Chinese papers.

Want to learn how to evaluate your child’s current Chinese enrichment programmes? Here are 3 signs that you’re wasting money on ineffective programmes at sub-par enrichment centres:

#1: The enrichment centre is using a one size fits all approach

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Don’t be fooled by enrichment centres which tell you that the programme is “inclusive” – what this means is that they simply throw all their kids into the same programme, and teach with the same standardized approach. In these programmes, there’s zero flexibility for kids who are progressing more quickly, or more slowly than the rest.

Unfortunately, these one size fits all approaches are pretty common in enrichment centres – simply because conducting smaller, more specialized classes translates into higher manpower costs. In fact, most enrichment centres tell parents that they accept a maximum of 12 students, and then go on to pack 15-20 students into each class instead.

How do you get around this? The best enrichment centres are now relying on technology to overcome this flaw – more on that later!

#2: The enrichment centre doesn’t provide regular updates for parents

Teacher make a huge impact on your kids during class – but for maximum results, these efforts should be reinforced by parents at home. The problem arises, however, when enrichment centres don’t provide updates or any sort of clarity on your child’s progress, making it difficult for you to continue the learning process at home.

#3: Your kids dread going to class

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It’s a huge myth that Chinese can’t be enjoyable. If your kids dread going to class each week, this merely shows that the enrichment centre’s curriculum is outdated, and that they need to provide better material that can stimulate your kids. Don’t settle for less – because why have your kids suffer through their weekly lessons when they could be having tons of fun?

Want to look for a more effective enrichment centre? Try KidStartNow’s Primary School programme, which has earned rave reviews from mummy bloggers and publications such as Young Parents Magazine. KidStartNow’s programme incorporates a proprietary BOSHI methodology to get children to learn Chinese the smarter and more effective way – with over 90% of our students loving the programme so much that they can’t wait to get to class each week!

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We help your children fall in love with Chinese, and improve their Chinese grades quickly and painlessly:

Tailored to each student

Tutors conduct classes with a teaching aid developed by our in-house experts. Using the teaching aid, tutors have access to each student’s detailed information, including the areas that they are weak in.

With a plethora of data available at their fingertips, our tutors are empowered to conduct classes more effectively, and to check in on specific students to make sure that each student is progressing at their optimum pace. Our primary school classes are also strictly limited to 10 students per class.

Regular progress reports provided to parents

We know you want to help to consolidate your kids’ learning – and we’ll help you to do just that. By providing you with regular progress reports and actionable tips, we take all the guesswork out on your end. All you have to do is to take a few minutes and sit down with your kids to revise the vocabulary or topics that we’ve highlighted in these reports.

Highly interactive and fun

Kids love our classes – and we can’t emphasize the importance of this enough. Once you get your child to develop an interest for Chinese, that’s half the battle won. With our fun show and tell activities, as well as our highly engaging class formats, your children’s subsequent learning won’t feel like work. In fact, with the guidance and support of our teachers and BOSHI methodology, many KidStartNow students have found it possible to achieve a perfect grade in their primary school Chinese exams!

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We’ve helped countless students fall in love with Chinese and ace their Chinese exams – and we can do the same for your child. Want to put your child on the path to scoring As in their Chinese exams? Sign up for a trial class today!

Valid till 30th April: For all new students, we’re waiving our $40 registration fee and throwing in a 30-day money back guarantee. We are confident that our curriculum will help your child that if you don’t feel your child has benefitted from our classes, we’ll issue you a full refund, no questions asked!

What To Expect At SmartKids Fair + How To Get A Free Report For Your Kid

Heading down to SmartKids Asia Fair 2017? Here are some highlights of the event that you won’t want to miss out on – including a free, customized report for your child that you can redeem from KidStartNow’s booth (KEP 02)!

#1: Straits Times Parenting Masterclasses

Comprising of a line-up of speakers who are experts in the fields of parenting and education, these masterclasses will help parents delve into the depths of the most effective parenting techniques, as well as uncover insights about child psychology.

Prices start at $12.84 for a single speaker; tickets are purchasable here.

#2: Straits Times Young Storymakers Camp

In this camp, kids will learn basic news reporting techniques taught by Straits Times journalists, explore the underground bunkers at The Battlebox, and even create a front page for their own newspaper in the Straits Times’ Newslab.

Prices start at $171.20; tickets are purchasable here.

#3: Get A Free Report Which Assesses Your Child’s Chinese Ability

Stop by Chinese Language Specialists’ KidStartNow’s booth at the SmartKids Fair to get a free assessment of your child’s Chinese ability, worth $40. With KidStartNow’s award winning classes being ranked #1 on Google, and being highly recommended by 18 parent bloggers and prominent media such as Young Parents Magazine and Sassy Mama, you’ll be in expert hands.

Amongst other things, the language specialists at KidStartNow will evaluate your child’s oral expression skills, listening and comprehension skills, and also test their word recognition for specific vocabulary. You’ll get a printed copy of the report that you may take home, and you can also speak with a language specialist to learn more about how to help your child improve his or her Chinese in the specific areas that he/she is currently lacking in.

Struggling with a child who’s highly disinterested in Chinese? Ask the language experts at KidStartNow’s booth about their proprietary BOSHI methodology, which incorporates the use of a BoshiPanda app that does wonders in creating and sustaining interest. With their BOSHI methodology and BoshiPanda app, KidStartNow has helped countless children rediscover Chinese and fall in love with the language – and they can help your child do the same!

KidStartNow’s booth is located at KEP 02.

Singapore’s #1 Gameshow Style Holiday Camp For P1/P2 Students

The March school holidays are fast approaching, and during this period, it’s crucial for your kids to revise diligently so that he or she doesn’t fall behind. You want them to be well-prepared for the semester ahead, but at the same time, you don’t want to push them too much – because it is the holidays after all.

With KidStartNow’s Gameshow Style Chinese Holiday Camp, your kids can brush up on all the important concepts that they’ve learned in school, whilst having a ton of fun! In addition, using proprietary software, teachers will conduct daily assessments for your kids and provide you with a personalised progress report that will help your kids learn smarter.

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KidStartNow’s camps and enrichment classes are highly acclaimed. Our programmes have gotten rave reviews from many blogger mummies and parenting magazines, including:

  • LilBlueBottle
  • Miracule
  • Young Parents Magazine

Who is this camp for?

The holiday camp is conducted for P1 and P2 students. The P1 camp will be tailored specifically to P1 students’ needs (with more emphasis being placed on Hanyu Pinyin, that has one of the highest weightage in marks during assessments. The P2 camp will cater to P2 students’ needs, with focus on language use, comprehension, etc.

We are strictly taking in a maximum of 10 children per camp. This is to ensure that the teachers and facilitators can give each child the guidance and attention that he or she needs.

What is this camp about?

This is Singapore’s first ever Gameshow style holiday camp for students, designed specifically to get students to revise and prepare for their upcoming examinations in a fun and engaging way.

By splitting students up into teams and pitting them against each other, students will quickly become engrossed in working with their group mates to defeat the opposing team. Whilst students are having fun and competing to answer questions, they’re getting in a lot of valuable revision time – they just don’t realise it!  

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In-house software is used to help your kids have even more fun during the camps!

What topics are covered?

For P1 students, topics include revision of Lesson 1-5 from their P1A textbook, reading and writing, comprehension, and Hanyu Pinyin.

For P2 students, topics include  Revision of Lesson 1-5 of P2A textbook, reading and writing, comprehension.

How do I know my kid has benefitted from the holiday camp?

Using KidStartNow’s in-house proprietary software, teachers will conduct daily assessments for students, and provide parents with a personalised progress report that will help you identify your kids’ strengths and weaknesses.

Studies from Columbia University have shown that parents who get regular updates about their kids’ academic progress are better equipped to help their kids improve. By providing you with constant, updated feedback about actionable ways in which their kids can improve, we make it easier for you to follow up with your kids and to continue engaging them even at home.

Reinforcing what your child has learnt both in school and at KidStartNow will go a long way in helping him/her achieve better grades. Countless students have benefitted from KidStartNow’s detail-oriented approach and personalised progress reports – and your kids can too!

Where is the camp conducted and when?

Date: 15th March to 17th March, from 10am – 12.30pm on each day.

Location: KidStartNow, 209 New Upper Changi Road, #03-649, S(460209) – 2 minutes away from Bedok MRT

The KidStartNow Gameshow  Style Holiday Camp is priced at $315 (regular price), or $285 (early bird price for sign ups before 5th March). Only limited slots are available for each level, so sign up now to avoid disappointment!

3 Effective Ways to Prime Your Kids For Success in P1 Chinese

The transition from preschool to primary school is perhaps one of the most challenging adaptations that your child has to make in early childhood – and if your kids aren’t already comfortable with Chinese, that makes the transition even tougher.

Some parents think their children have plenty of time before they have to start working on the material because there aren’t any official exams in Primary One. Whilst this might be true, schools still administer ‘holistic assessments’ which are, in essence, the exact same thing. So make sure your kids are well-prepared, and help them start their schooling days on a good note!

Want to know how you can help your kids prepare for P1 Chinese? Check out these three effective ways to prime your kids for success in the language:

1) Equip your kids with the right attitude

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If you didn’t already know, there’s a stark contrast between primary school and preschool. Class sizes are doubled, teachers are less patient, and you can expect less mollycoddling and a lot more Chinese homework. Make sure you mentally prepare your kids for this increase in workload, and equip them with the right attitude to handle their homework.

How to do this:

Before term starts, explain to your kids that they will now have more ‘responsibilities’ like more homework because they’re older, and can do more than their younger counterparts – challenging kids to do more because they are now “more mature” is a great way to get them to buy in. Get them to set goals to work towards, and challenge them to strive to do better each term.

2) Help them master Hanyu Pinyin

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Chinese exams are heavily weighted towards Hanyu Pinyin, with as much as 40% of questions in SA2 examinations being Hanyu Pinyin-related. If your child’s foundation in Hanyu Pinyin isn’t great, it’s time to rectify that!

How to do this:

Buy Hanyu Pinyin flashcards and charts from Popular Bookstore to revise with your children at home. The two most common problems that kids face are differentiation of vowel tones as well as blending of consonants and vowels – so keep an eye out for these two issues in particular!

3) Brush up on your kids’ oral skills

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A lot of parents focus on getting their children acquainted with the necessary vocabulary – but only in written form. As a result, kids at the primary school level often have trouble with their Show and Tell.

The good news? Most schools allow students to prepare a script in advance, so the only thing you have to help your kids deal with is conquering stage fright. You can easily do this by getting your kids to speak Mandarin at home, and holding informal show and tell sessions where they can discuss simple topics with the rest of the family.

Need some expert help?

KidStartNow’s Primary One programme is perfect for students who need help in improving their Chinese via its proprietary BOSHI method that helps your child learn smarter.

We have a proven track record of success, and our tried and tested methods have helped countless students achieve their potential and deliver impressive results. Watch the video below to find out more about our student Jue Ming, who topped Fengshan Primary School for P1 Chinese in 2016.

Sign up for a trial class now!

4 Ways to Make Even The Most Stubborn Child Enjoy Learning Chinese

 

If getting your child to learn Chinese feels like rocket science, it might just be because you’re doing it all wrong. Check out our four tried-and-tested tips that will help you transform your child’s attitude towards Chinese!

1) Be realistic

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If you sit your child down and tell him that you’re expecting his Chinese grades to improve from a D to an A in one month, that’s not just unrealistic, it’s also highly discouraging.

It’s great to set goals to work towards, but if these goals are unrealistic, your child might feel so overwhelmed that he or she ends up paralyzed with fear. We wouldn’t want that!

Instead, make sure that you and your child are on the same page, and that both of you agree on the goal that you’re working toward. Let your child know that you understand that Chinese is tough to master, and that you believe in him and will support him throughout his journey.

If you’re not sure about what is a realistic goal to aim for, KidStartNow is offering a free Chinese language assessment where we will analyze your child’s weakness and strengths, and come up with suggestions on how he or she can improve.  

2) Adopt a growth mindset

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If you’re not familiar with this term, a growth mindset refers to the belief that intelligence and skills can be developed through hard work. Conversely, a fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence is a fixed asset that people either possess or lack.

According to Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, who has conducted numerous studies on this topic, a growth mindset is essential in helping students realise their potential. Students with fixed mindsets are afraid to try for fear of failing and looking foolish – and it’s the students who are hungry for growth who end up the most successful.

So how do you get your children to adopt a growth mindset, specifically in the context of learning Chinese?

Celebrate small wins and make your child feel good about his or her progress, even if it’s something as small as passing a Chinese spelling test for the first time. Also make sure you don’t discourage your kids – for example, when they speak to you in Chinese, be sure to commend them for practicing the language. Don’t simply correct their pronunciation, without acknowledging their effort.

3) Adhere to a regular weekly reading schedule

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Reading is one of the best ways to build your child’s interest and proficiency in Chinese. You might encounter some resistance at the start, but the objective is to get your children proficient to the point where they actually enjoy reading Chinese material – and they’ll be hooked from there. Bonus: kids who read regular do better in Comprehension and Composition, the two key “killer sections” for primary school student.

You may borrow books from the National Library, or purchase them from Taobao. A word of caution – it’s fine to opt for simpler material to start off with, but try to avoid books with Han Yu Pin Yin, as this will result in them becoming overly reliant on it and refusing to read books without Han Yu Pin Yin.

4) Lead by example

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This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll be surprised at how many parents neglect to practice what they preach. Children look to their parents as their role models and take behavioural cues from them – so if you don’t utter a single word of Mandarin at home, it’s unlikely that they’ll learn enough to be effectively bilingual.

That having been said, there’s no need to go all out and outrightly ban English at home – simply reading the Chinese papers in front of your children, and designating ‘Speak Mandarin Days’ will go a long way in motivating them.

Your children aren’t having an easy time learning Chinese – so to avoid making it any harder than it has to be, make sure you get them to study smart instead of study hard. Instructing them to blindly memorise and regurgitate content won’t work; neither will forcing them to study without taking the time to cultivate their interest for Chinese first.

If you’re not sure where to start, register for KidStartNow’s free Chinese language assessment – we will help you analyse your child’s weakness and strengths, and come up with suggestions on how he or she can improve. Good luck!

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