First of all, I would like to say thank you so much for working at home with your children, and for your support towards our class 🙂
I would like to clarify somethings with you in regards of “translating” – in general on activities/papers that are sent home, and in specific weekly homework and flashcards.
On our Mandarin homework and flashcard, you will find pinyin and the English meaning of those words. I want to let you know that the pinyin and English words are there for you as references (so that you have an idea of what we are learning). However, they do not serve as “translations” for the children.
– For Flashcard: Please focus on practicing with your child to recognize the words – don’t tell them what the word is in English. You can work on making meaning through drawing, motions, guessing game, etc – just don’t translate directly 🙂 Practice on recognizing, recognizing and recognizing – At school we work on understanding these words through drawings/motions, etc.
– For Homework: Please focus on making sure they are following the stroke and proportion of the characters. These words are so important as foundations building for their Mandarin learning!
PLEASE help me keep your children accountable of following the stroke orders of the characters as well as the proportions of the characters in the square (we constantly practice this at school too – but it can be so much more intentional when you are one on one). Mandarin has basic strokes and components of a word(character) that are in many different characters, and if they get the stroke/proportion wrong now, it will potentially create habits that will last a long time.
In an immersion approach to learning a language, the focus is acquiring the language through authentic and meaningful interactions with words. It is important that the students are not learning the language through English; we want the students to understand Mandarin as it is and not have to first process it through their English. We are working on not “translating” at school – and I ask that you do the same at home. If they get translations at home, there is possibility that they would then depend on getting translations at home instead of working to understand what words mean in Mandarin at school.
At such early stage of Mandarin learning, the students might be able to tell you what the characters are, but might not be able to tell you completely what it means – I want to reassure you that this is okay in an early stage, and the more they learn, the more understanding they will be able to build. You might find it interesting that translating is an advanced skill that is more developmentally appropriate when the students are above third grade.
If there are English on assignments (papers that I send home), they serve as a reference (for you) but not as translation (for the children).
What can I do to help my child understand words/phrases?
Draw it, do it in motions, *be creative with this* – just don’t tell them what it is in English 🙂
Thank you so much for your constant parental support! The children are working hard as they learn how to do school and all about Kindergarten in another language – and it won’t be possible without your support and encouragements as parents at home 🙂