Having a good grasp of Mandarin is important for one to understand and appreciate the unique Singapore Chinese culture, said Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Grace Fu.

She called for Singaporeans to “start building the foundation of Mandarin from a young age, given how the language has become international”.

ELFA Chinese Preschool believes in the importance of our pre-schoolers to explore, experience and enjoy Mandarin. This helps them feel confident to appreciate and use the language often in everyday life.

This is why, in designing our curriculum and activities, we plan meaningful experiences for our children. Through the thematic unique story-based approach, ELFA reinforces children’s understanding of the Chinese culture and traditions, while learning Mandarin.

Children learn about home and family through carefully curated interactive activities with their teachers and peers.

Beyond the Classroom

When the children take these valuable lessons home with them, they learn to make the connection and actively practice them.

Mr Lee Hsien Loong once shared that family members can show their support by immersing young children in the language at home by speaking more Mandarin to them. This is a stage where children are most sensitive to pronunciations and intonations, and can acquire a language more easily.”

Through the use of illustrative pictures and role playing, children learn to relate the learning to life at home and pick up key words along the way.

When children make the self-initiated link, it gives them a sense of ownership over their learning. Through these experiences, they will encounter the joy and wonderment of learning. Parents will see improvements and accumulation of knowledge in their children with time.

One ELFA parent expressed how she is impressed by what ELFA’s strong Chinese-focused bilingual education has done for her daughter.

“Before Emily was enrolled in ELFA, she wasn’t speaking much Mandarin and it was not a natural language for her.

But yesterday, exactly one year after joining ELFA, Emily walked to me with two Chinese words written on her board and read both aloud, confidently. On top of recognising the Chinese characters, what surprised me was that she wrote them out of memory.” – she added.

Emily Tim, ELFA’s Kindergarten One child proudly presenting her written character ‘妈妈’ and ‘爸爸’

Nurturing a great love for a second language benefits children in many ways. Only when our children have developed the love for the Chinese language, will true learning begin.