English and Chinese Immersion

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“Monolingualism… is the illiteracy of the 21st Century..”
-Time Magazine July 29, 2013

BILINGUAL IMMERSION

Being bilingual in English and Chinese is essential for your child’s future with China’s growing economic power.  Even enlightened Americans, Europeans and Indians are enrolling their children in bilingual schools to learn these two languages.

We all know that passing our Chinese examinations does not necessarily mean that we are truly bilingual. We can order chicken rice in Chinese, but are we comfortable conversing with a business counterpart or negotiating a deal in Chinese? The reality is that even though we have been through a bilingual education, most of us are not truly bilingual.

Dual Language Environment

The most important factor for true bilingualism is a dual language environment. Significant exposure time to a language is crucial to facilitate language acquisition. If both parents are English speaking, the best option is to then enrol your child in a pre-school such as ChildFirst that teaches half the day in English and half the day in Chinese.

Language Development Sequence

As a baby, your child learns English by listening to you. Later, your child will speak English. When the spoken language is mastered, reading and writing becomes meaningful to your child. This same natural sequence of listening, speaking, reading and then writing, must be applied to learning Chinese.

Love for the Language

Children must have fun learning a language to develop a love for it. Speech and drama is a fun way of learning. A spacious set-up for role play in various real-life scenarios will build your child’s confidence in using the Chinese and English language. To truly appreciate a language, one needs to understand its culture. At ChildFirst, we do not just emphasize bilingualism, we emphasize bi-culture as well.

Different Learning Style

Each child is unique. Some learn best through singing. Others learn best by movement or by interacting with others. This is a key aspect principle of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI). A good curriculum, be it English or Chinese, must engage children with different learning styles. (learn more under the section on Multiple Intelligences Immersion).

Constant Exposure

Language is a skill, and like any other skill, it will only improve with constant exposure and sufficient practice. Create a solid foundation and interest in English and Chinese from young to give your child the advantage of being truly bilingual. At ChildFirst, your child will be exposed to half-a-day of English and half-a-day of Chinese every day.

English Immersion Programme

During the half-day English immersion, only English will be spoken. Each class has an English teacher and an assistant English teacher.

Our English curriculum follows the natural language development sequence of listening, speaking, reading and then writing.

Listening and Speaking

From Pre-nursery (18 months) to N1 (3 years old), our focus is on listening and speaking. Speech and drama is a good way of building up their verbal communication skills and confidence.

Reading

Starting from N2 (4 years old), your child will be exposed to phonics and reading. We take a two-prong approach to reading. First, your child will be exposed to step readers to build up their sight words and sentence structures repertoire. Each step reader will be increasingly more challenging with more complex story lines (both fiction and non-fiction).

In addition, your child will learn phonics to decode English words. This will help them to pronounce and spell English words properly and allow them to sound out new words, beyond what they already know.

Writing

Finally, creative writing will help them to express their ideas in a written form.

Acquisition of New Knowledge

English is the first language in Singapore and the language most likely spoken at home. Therefore, at ChildFirst, our half-day English curriculum programme not only develops your child’s competency in the language, it uses the language your child is strong in to help them acquire new knowledge.

Chinese Immersion Programme

During the half-day Chinese immersion, only Chinese will be spoken. Each class has a Chinese teacher and an assistant Chinese teacher.

Our Chinese curriculum follows the natural language development sequence of listening, speaking, reading and then writing.

Listening and Speaking

From Pre-nursery (18 months) to N1 (3 years old), our focus is on listening and speaking. Speech and drama is a good way of building up their verbal communication skills and confidence.

Reading and Writing

Starting from N2 (4 years old), your child will be exposed to Chinese word recognition and reading. We take a two prong approach. Firstly, unlike English which is a phonetic language, Chinese is a pictorial language.

At ChildFirst, we make recognising Chinese characters fun so that your child can remember them. Do you recognise these two characters “炎” and “灭” , if you were shown an animation that “灭” is formed by adding “火” (fire) on top of “火” and it means extremely hot, would you remember it better? What about an animation that shows water being doused on “火” to form “灭” which means extinguish? Would you recognise “灭” next time?

Chinese-demo

Once your child recognizes Chinese words, they progress to Chinese Step Readers to help build up Chinese reading skills with confidence.

bowlchopstick-dailylife3 A Part of Daily Life Rather than a Subject

When Chinese is taught as a subject, it will be forgotten outside the classroom. At ChildFirst, your child will be exposed to more than 750 hours of Chinese every year. Chinese will inevitable become a part of your child’s daily life, a language that he/she uses communication for playing, eating and daily routine activities.

bowlchopstick-dailylife3 Chinese Culture

To truly appreciate a language, one needs to understand its culture. At ChildFirst, we infuse culture into our Chinese curriculum by having themes that celebrate Chinese culture such as Chinese New Year and Mooncake Festival.