As soon as our children were born, we started speaking to them in Mandarin Chinese. We also integrated elements of Chinese culture into their lives, such as celebrating major holidays including Chinese New Year and eating traditional cuisine. As Chinese Americans, we wanted to pass on our language and heritage to our children so that they would be able to easily communicate and socialize with their relatives and friends in Chinese speaking countries. With China as the fastest growing economy in the world, we also understood the practical importance of being fluent in Mandarin. Indeed, we both experienced first-hand how being bilingual in Mandarin and English greatly contributed to our career successes in business and finance. As the global economy continues to converge, there will undoubtedly be more opportunities for our children to utilize and benefit from these skills in the future.
In our personal quest to teach our children Mandarin Chinese in a primarily English-speaking environment, we continually sought resources to supplement our own instruction. However, we found that good quality, fun and engaging materials were scarce. It was also difficult to find material that could effectively integrate language acquisition techniques in a natural manner to English-speaking children. Therefore, we began creating our own instructional Chinese stories, songs and games. Soon thereafter, an idea for our company was conceived and we formed aha!Chinese in 2006. We took our techniques a step further by working with linguists both Chinese and American to develop a rich and engaging at-home curriculum to supplement in-classroom instruction. Furthermore, noting the dearth of Chinese faces in the media, we wanted to introduce some Chinese American role models in our series that children could identify with and look up to. Today we are ready to introduce children to the beauty of Mandarin Chinese and the richness of Chinese culture.