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a note to parents and educators

Chinese Language Learning...A note to Parents

All of the best intentions of parents are wasted if children are not effectively engaged. The aha!Chinese method uniquely provides children with a fun and stimulating setting in which to learn Mandarin Chinese. And as children acquire language in different ways, the subject material is presented in a variety of mutually self-reinforcing mediums, whether through video, print, songs, or games.

Children cannot learn in a vacuum. An important aspect of the aha!Chinese method is the ability for parent and child to learn together. As the Mandarin Chinese and English are presented side by side, parents, if they desire, are easily able to learn alongside their children. This allows parents to practice with their children, thereby helping them to reinforce the skills acquired. The child benefits tremendously from continued repetition and reinforcement.

Every child in the world is naturally endowed with an enormous capacity for language acquisition. When it comes to language, children’s minds are wired differently than adults. Children need only to interact with other children or adult speakers of a foreign language for a period of time, and suddenly they are fluent in the new language, and with authentic accents.

Children are therefore naturally receptive to language, though without proper stimulation, these talents eventually recede. It therefore makes sense to start children early, and allow them to learn while learning is still relatively easy for them. Even if they do not attain fluency immediately, the introduction of a second language at an early age provides a foundation upon which future study will be easier and more effortless.

Why Mandarin Chinese?

Mandarin Chinese is the official language of China, and is effectively communicated by nearly 900 million people, thus making it the most widely spoken language in the world. As global economies and cultures continue to come together, Mandarin Chinese is joining English as a critical tool for communication. Those who speak both English and Mandarin Chinese will be able to easily communicate with more than half of the world’s population and a disproportionate share of the business world.

The numbers of pre-collegiate students studying Mandarin Chinese in the US quadrupled between 1992 and 2002. Mandarin Chinese is rapidly being introduced into public and private school curriculums in at least 27 states in the US as of 2006. The first Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture courses are being offered worldwide in the fall of 2006, followed by the first administered exam in May of 2007. While learning any language has great benefits, Mandarin Chinese is exceptional for both the richness of its cultural heritage and practical usefulness in the global economy.  Multi-lingualism also fosters an international perspective, allowing for better understanding of other cultures as well as one’s own.  Savvy parents understand that Mandarin Chinese skills will provide future opportunities.