In a commentary article on Lianhe Zaobao, Dr Connie Lum, Director of the Mother Tongue Language Curriculum and Professional Development at NTUC First Campus, shares her take on how parents can encourage the learning of the Mother Tongue language to children.
According to Dr Lum, zero to six years old is a critical period for language learning. Children in this age group are curious about everything. They like to listen to various sounds and imitate. Thus, language education should begin during this period.
Parents are the first language teachers for children, and the home is the first environment for children to acquire language, so the role of parents is very important. Young parents should consciously try to create a more conducive Mother Tongue language learning environment at home.
"For English-speaking families, I would recommend parents to expose their children to Chinese songs from as young as infants. You can bring your children to attend Chinese performing arts classes, available at many Community Clubs and Clan Associations. Chinese storytelling sessions are also available at the libraries. In summary, as long as you have the determination to make your children learn Chinese well, there are suitable courses or activities available for them to develop their interest in Chinese and lay a solid foundation without pressure," Dr Lum said.
Lianhe Zaobao Online (19 May 2022): https://www.zaobao.com.sg/forum/talk/story20220519-1274140
Lianhe Zaobao Print (19 May 2022): PDF as attached