I’ve posted before about my disappointment with our public schools for failing to bring Mandarin classes into the schools. It’s been a sore spot with countless parents and me, but I’ve tried to stay positive and find other opportunities for my kids to learn Mandarin. Or at least be exposed to it.
Number one son, aka Jake, takes an extracurricular class once a week at the other middle school in town. Once he finishes middle school this year, I’ll have to find another Mandarin class for him. Because the high school doesn’t teach it either.
Today I brought my 2 year old, Martin, to the public library for Mandarin story time. Although free and sponsored by the library, the story time was run by a local language school that offers Mandarin for kids much younger than Jake.
The instructor greeted all the kids with a smiley ni hao. After the kids were seated, the instructor read an English story, but translated it in his head and only spoke Mandarin.
We were approaching Martin’s nap time, so while the other kids sat patiently and listened to the story and played with the props the instructor passed out, Martin rolled around on the floor.
Thirty minutes passed quickly. The kids each received a worksheet with some of the vocabulary (colors) they learned in the story and a brochure about the language classes.
While Martin seemed like he might not have gotten much out of it, I know it’s important to expose him to foreign languages at an early age. Even though he didn’t sit still, he heard Mandarin for thirty straight minutes (with no English spoken during this time).
I’m grateful our library offers this story time, even if it’s only twice a year for now.
If only the public schools would follow suit.