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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mom Makes Progress, Too! (And a New Freebie in Mandarin)

I'm feeling pretty good about my Chinese these days.  Well, better anyway. While I am still in the infant/toddler (Parents and Tots) class at Language Stars*, I feel that things are progressing well not only for my children, but also for me.  I guess I was so busy feeling guilty about not having a lot of time to work on the language at an "adult" level that I forgot that everybody begins a new language the same way:  at the level of an infant.  

At first, I didn't understand anything at all.  I was completely lost.  It's not a good feeling, sitting in an infant/toddler class and still not understanding anything, let me tell you!  Then, my son and I learned a few words and two-word phrases.  We were rewarded for learning them by praise from the teacher and other parents (yes, even the parents are encouraged in the class!).  And, as in anything, you have to begin to understand a little about what you are doing before you can actually DO it.  So, for the most part, we were both listening a lot more than speaking the first few months.  

But every day I realize that we are making progress.  We both now seem to be speaking maybe 20% of the time.  I think we both understand probably more than 90% of what is said in class.  Most of the time, I even understand the little phrases the teacher will say to herself as she looks for something or prepares the next activity.  I think that's a really good sign.  

AND . . . we continue to work at home.  We read some books with CDs that we've purchased (see the Mandarin links page on the right).  We work on the coloring and writing pages from Language Stars.  And, most importantly, we try to speak Mandarin as much as possible.  I ask them questions in Mandarin.  I say even parts of sentences--whatever I know.  We work on the "extension" activities from class, like the finger plays. (Those are a GREAT way to learn the language, BTW.)  I also make some of my own materials.  Here's the latest FREE one I made.  If you're working on Mandarin at home or in your classroom, I hope you can use it!   You can play it several ways.  It comes with fruit picture cards and character/pinyin/English cards to match.  
Thanks for reading!  

*We get 50% off our tuition for blogging about our Language Stars experience.  But, opinions expressed here are still my own.  

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