Educating kids and education in Singapore has always be heavily emphasized on. Billingualism is the norm here as it’s compulsory to learn English and your mother tongue (which is Mandarin for my kids).
From Kindergarten, they are taught both English and Mandarin with the majority of lessons in English. Maths, Science , Art & Crafts and other subjects are all thought using the English medium. Exposure to Mandarin has been limited to the 1 hour Chinese lesson which they have in school.
I personally feel that it doesn’t give them enough exposure to Mandarin as they are not using the language to communicate most of the time while they are in school. English is still the dominant language which is used in teaching.
To get my kids ready for school I have been teaching them in both English and Mandarin since they were born. I have been collecting and using flashcards and other related teaching material to practice with them. We do reading of storybooks in both English and Mandarin before bedtime.
I feel that they should be most comfortable expressing themselves in both English and Mandarin and be able to switch effortlessly from one language to another. For them to do so I need to ground them in their vocabulary and written and spoken ability in Mandarin more then English. The limited exposure that they have in school shouldn’t be carried on into the home and I give the kids maximum opportunity to converse in Mandarin when they are at home.
Once they are very fluent in these two languages we will be moving onto Japanese and French.
How do you foster Bilingualism with your kids?