Teaching your kids to love their mother tongue can be tough. Luckily, there are tons of ways to spice up mother tongue learning!
Parents, do you sometimes despair of making your little ones love their mother tongue? In an English-dominated society, you may fear that your beloved mother tongue will become a chore to your kids. Thankfully, our ultra-cute giant pandas, Kai Kai and Jia Jia, are here to help.
The new Wow Wild Learn programme takes preschoolers to the River Safari to visit our adorable pandas! As reported in The Straits Times, trained teachers will conduct a Chinese language-learning workshop with fun activities like singing songs about pandas.
This programme has already expanded to 80 pre-schools across Singapore and will reach 3000 preschoolers by year’s end. It was launched jointly by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, so as to make Chinese learning engaging for your tots.
Who can resist a pair of fluffy, cuddly pandas, right? With Kai Kai and Jia Jia around, your child’s Mandarin learning will definitely get a much-needed boost of fun. We are sure that meeting these lovable giants will ignite your tot’s curiosity about Chinese!
Tips to spark love for mother tongue
Though English may be Singapore’s main language, there’s no denying mother tongue’s importance. There are practical reasons to strengthen your child’s mother tongue abilities: entry to local universities requires Mother Tongue proficiency at ‘O’ or ‘A’ levels. At the same time, our mother tongues have the precious ability to connect us to our cultural roots.
Parents, are you struggling to build a strong Mother Tongue foundation with your kids? Here are some tips to give you a helping hand.
1) Go digital
Who says Mother Tongue lessons have to be all about spelling tests and dreary textbooks? Get your tech-savvy kids interested with the arsenal of fun language apps out there.
Chinese Writer, for example, turns boring 习字 (writing practices) exciting by getting kids to trace falling characters as fast as possible! Students of Malay will love Pintar Kata, an app developed by Singapore’s Ministry of Education which gets players to hunt for Malay words while the clock ticks down.
2) Create an immersive environment
Your mother tongue language won’t seem “real” to your kids until they use it with their loved ones, in everyday situations. Set aside certain days of the week where your family can speak your mother tongue together, or simply code-switch if you are comfortable with it.
3) Connect emotionally
Uncover the richness and expressiveness of your mother tongue for your kids. You can make the language beautiful for your wide-eyed little ones by introducing them to rhymes, songs, or even poetry. By making mother tongue their language of self-expression, it will naturally become a part of their budding identity.
4) Avoid punishment
Some of us, including this writer, grew up with English as a first language, and Mother Tongue grades were a source of school stress and parental scolding. Our mother tongues became firmly linked to unhappy emotions—certainly not something that encouraged us to use them more.
Do avoid motivation tactics like punishment or strict rules, which might cause your little ones to associate their mother tongue with bad memories. As experts say, reward is more effective than punishment!
ALSO READ: “Mummy, why must we learn Chinese?”