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3 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Primary School Chinese

Is your Primary 1 / 2 child able to form complete sentences that describe the place, time and a person’s action in Mandarin? Most Lower Primary children are not able to form proper descriptive sentences that will be vital for their examinations in the future. If he/she is struggling with comprehension and composition portions of the Chinese Language exams, below are some pointers to help them overcome it:

1) Who? What? Where? When? Why?
By answering 2 or more of the *5W* questions will allow your child to easily form a slightly more well-rounded and complete sentence either in composition writing or comprehension answering.
EduGrove teachers use “Show & Tell 小演讲” to present their favourite activity or talk about their favourite meal etc. This is followed by asking or answering a few simple questions like “Where do you usually play soccer? 你平常在哪里踢足球?” or “What time does your mother fetch you after soccer practice? 你练习完足球后,妈妈几点来接你?” .
By answering or asking questions, children are able to describe the situation more elaborately and they get to learn how to gather more information to visualise things better.
💡Tip: Set aside half an hour each day for you to ask your child about what they did for the day or what is their favourite thing etc in Mandarin. Pepper the conversation with the *5W* questions to get them to elaborate more. Alternatively, they can ask you questions about your day.

2) Formal v.s Informal Language
A lot of young children still struggle with their Chinese Language subject in primary school despite the fact that Mandarin is spoken frequently at home. This is largely because at home the words used are for informal conversations, but in school they are required to use formal language terms to describe situations, people and objects etc.
EduGrove’s Mandarin Speech & Literacy curriculum uses storytelling and drama activities to help your child understand formal language terms so that they are able to use descriptive words more eloquently. It allows them to visualise things better and make stories interesting. Acting out or even drawing a simple metaphor like “Pretty as a flower / 漂亮的像一朵花” can give them a better visual representation to the descriptive metaphor that they just learnt.
💡Tip: It could be a fun activity for the whole family to try describing things or activities using metaphors or simple idioms, but instead of saying it out you have to act it out charade style.

3) Sentence Structures
Learning proper sentence structures can mean a lot of different things, however the most common mistakes that lower primary students tend to make are that they have difficulty using punctuation as well as transitional words (不但…, 而且…).
During lessons, EduGrove students learn to overcome this through flashcard games or drama activities. We encourage their creativity by allowing them to come up with their own storyline using the transitional words on flashcards. Through the drama activities, the words are imprinted onto their memory as they associate it with the dramatised re-enactment of a particular scene.
Example : Students often find it is difficult to describe a story in a coherent manner. We teach transition words like “首先,接着,然后,最后“ through drama and storytelling.
💡Tip: Write down a complete Chinese sentence but without the punctuations. Ask your child which punctuation is missing and where should it be placed, get them to point to the spot in the sentence and then act out how the punctuation looks like. Get involved and take turns guessing the punctuation that has been acted out.

Need more help with your P1/P2 child’s Mandarin? Let us help you make learning Mandarin FUN, ENGAGING & EFFECTIVE. Book a trial now to experience EduGrove’s Mandarin Speech & Literacy programme!