Studying a foreign language is an invaluable experience at any age, but young children have the most to benefit from this challenging, yet inspiring opportunity. The ability to grasp a language without conscious learning is granted to children from birth. They intuitively take a language as an opportunity to look around, explore and get entertained. They have innate potential to pick up a foreign language by imitating sounds and absorbing structures and rules naturally, as they acquire their mother tongue.
There is a myriad of language options for young learners. Every language is a unique art to express ourselves. Many parents want their kids to learn some European languages like English or Spanish, and there is nothing to be surprised about – they are spoken across the globe and can boost children’s prospects, when they grow up.
Chinese is another excellent opportunity to help children gain cognitive and linguistic benefits. However, it is not only a global status that makes Chinese a good language to learn. Chinese is a tonal language with a plethora of character that look like pictures, which makes it a great development tool for kids with visual and audial perception.
Advantages of Learning Chinese
Psychologists suggest that children are prone to better and easier learn Chinese, as they have advanced ability in picking up nuances of tone and sound. It makes it easier for kids to grasp Chinese pronunciation and learn the language with a native accent.
• Creative thinking
Learning Chinese for preschoolers is a great way to stimulate cognitive growth and activate development of both brain sides. As a result, young learners gain proficiency in logical and creative thinking.
• Motor skills
In European languages, we move the hand from left to right while writing. In Chinese, putting character on paper implies hand movements around and above, which develops motor skills and spatial perception in children.
• Problem solving
For anyone who have never learnt the language, Chinese characters are merely a set of random lines. Children who study Chinese learn to make difference between sound and meaning particles of various characters, which stimulates development of problem solving.
Tips for Learning Chinese
• Flash cards
Activities with flash cards are an indispensable part of any Chinese preschool curriculum. They help kids learn and memorize characters/words with beautifully designed images that illustrate the meaning of each character/word.
Chinese is a tonal language in itself, and singing songs with preschoolers is a good way to help children enrich their word stock in a fascinating manner.
• Paper cutting craft
Paper cutting is a funny and enticing activity for young learners. Children can get encouraged to design Chinese characters and use them to decorate a house or a classroom. Paper cutting develops fine motor skills and increase kids’ creativity and imagination.
• Pages coloring
Many preschools provide children with Chinese culture drawings to keep up their exposure to the language and broaden their horizons.
• Books and videos
Through books and videos, children can get acquainted with sounds and writing.
At an early age, children get basic understanding of the language. The more exposure kids get to the language in childhood, the more skilled they will be to use it in everyday life, when they get older. Unlike adults who need conscious learning, children who acquire Chinese naturally are more likely to have a better pronunciation and get deeper understanding of the language and culture.