Saturday, 28 April 2012

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Heritage Education: Teaching Chinese Character in a Fun Way


Age: From 2.5 years old

Objectives:
1. To teach recognition of Chinese characters in a fun way.

Materials:
1. 1 set of 8 name card size cards with picture and the Chinese characters.
2. Another set of 8 name card size cards with only the Chinese characters.

You can make your own, or if you are a working mom and do not have the time, you can buy a set here:

http://www.betterchinese.com/ProductDetail.aspx?CurriculumID=1&ProductID=4

It contains simplified Chinese characters used in China and Singapore, pinyin and English translation for billingual children.

Here is another good option from Amazon with very nice pictures, the Chinese pin yin and English translation:


How to Play?
1. Display all the picture cards face up on the table.
2. Put the word cards in a pile face down.
3. Ask the child to pick the first word card, turn it around and read the Chinese character to him.
4. Ask the child to match the Chinese character to the picture. He gets to keep the pair.

Additional Information:
As a working mom, I know my time will be very hectic and limited, once Joshua comes along. Thus, I have planned 4 years ahead. I bought and read most of the books as well as the teaching materials when I was expecting Joshua. The risk of such a strategy is that the things you bought may not be as new, but given my very hectic time constraints, it is a risk and down-side that I gladly accept. Joshua discovered it last week and asked to play with it. Finally I found the time this week!

I have classified it as from 2.5 years old, because for some children, you can already start this at 2.5 years old. My friend's son, Daniel, could already recognized 40 - 100 Chinese characters between 2.5 years old to 3 years old (Whoever said that learning Chinese is difficult! I found it hard to believe, especially from my fellow Singaporeans with that complaint. It is all in the attitude of parents.) For Joshua, it suits him better to start this at 3 years old as I devoted his second year to Montessori Practical Life. Joshua also has to juggle three languages, thus, he was not ready to start any sooner.

Joshua (3Y1M22D) tried this yesterday and he enjoyed it very much. He was not very good at it initially, but quickly understood the concept. However, he is looking more at the pattern than really reading the Chinese character. That is nevertheless a start. Amy and Joshua played it today. It went very well. Amy is a very motivated and determined girl, amazing at her age. After this trial run, we hope to introduce this game in our next Chinese playgroup.


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