Within a short period of 3 months, Iris’ Mandarin has improved tremendously.

Iris attended Nursery 2 at a Church Kindergarten for a year before joining ChildFirst. During her time at that Kindergarten, she learnt relatively well under the guidance of her teachers but we noticed that her interest in Chinese was very low. We were very concerned about her Chinese language development as we appreciate the importance of being bilingual.

Our elder daughter, who is now in Primary 5, has done well in all her subjects except Chinese. Coming from an English-speaking family, she prefers to converse in English, read English books and watch English TV programmes. When she entered Primary 4, she found it difficult to keep up with the learning pace for Chinese in school so we had no choice but to sign her up for a Chinese enrichment class to help her cope. After our experience with our elder daughter, we tried many ways to improve our younger daughter Iris’ interest in Chinese but failed miserably. At our wits end, we decided to also enroll Iris in a well-known Chinese enrichment class for 2 hours every Sunday. With the enrichment class, her understanding of the Chinese language improved slightly and she was able to recognise the Chinese characters taught. Unfortunately, she was still reluctant to converse with us in Mandarin.

At the start of this year, we decided to enrol Iris at ChildFirst. We were impressed with the strong bilingual curriculum presented during the open house and we believed that their half day English and half day Chinese approach would be good for Iris as the amount of time spent on language learning was significant. Our task of convincing Iris to switch over to ChildFirst was made easy by the beautiful speech and drama room and the friendly teachers. After the first visit, Iris was eager to start playing and learning at ChildFirst. Ever since Iris joined ChildFirst, we noticed that she has become more independent and confident. More importantly, she is gradually showing more interest and confidence in Mandarin. Every day when her dad picks her up from school, she will eagerly recite the new Chinese phrases she learnt from school. Not only is she able to recite the phrases, she is also able to explain the meaning of the Chinese word relative to the different Chinese stroke when we probed her.

During the recent Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, Iris surprised us when she enthusiastically shouted auspicious Chinese New year phrases when we “Lao Yu Sheng”.  This was just after being at ChildFirst for a month! Now, Iris replies in Mandarin when we speak to her in Mandarin.  She will ask her dad how to say certain items in Chinese if she doesn’t know them. Her query on how to say “Play-Doh” in Chinese sent her dad frantically searching the digital dictionary for an answer! Lately she has started to ask more complex questions. Her dad remarked that he is learning Chinese along with her! Within a short period of 3 months, Iris’ Mandarin has improved tremendously. We believe we made a right choice in sending her to ChildFirst.

Iris’ mum

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