1) How is Pearl Mandarin different from other Mandarin programs?

Pearl Mandarin is a play-based and academic program for Mandarin education. Through play, students experience the Mandarin language by sight, movement and touch. Through academic structure, students learn step-by-step, building cumulatively on the Mandarin they already know.

Our classes run for 45 – 60 minutes once a week and our Little Dragons and Giant Pandas receive weekly homework assignments.

Pearl Mandarin uses leading language materials designed to motivate students to start speaking Mandarin.

2) What is the difference between classroom learning and private/semi-private lessons?

Students taking private or semi-private lessons can set their own schedule and can reschedule missed classes with at least 24 hours notice.  Email info@pearlmandarin.com for rates and more information on private/semi-private lessons.

3) Do you teach pronunciation aids such as pinyin or bopomofo?

Mandarin is a tonal language which means pronunciation is very important and the rises and falls of the sounds matter a lot. For example, mā means mother but mǎ means horse. We teach our students the difference so that they do not accidentally call their mother a horse.

We teach our students how to pronounce Mandarin words correctly with the help of pinyin. Pinyin is easier for an English speaker to learn than bopomofo as the pinyin letters are similar to those in the English alphabet.

4) Do you teach simplified or traditional Chinese characters?

We teach simplified Chinese characters. As most of our students are learning Mandarin as a second language, we teach using the easiest and most efficient methods. Our goal is for students to quickly assume proficiency and enjoy learning Mandarin. Simplified Chinese characters are easier to recognize, write and remember. Simplified Chinese characters also have fewer strokes than traditional Chinese characters.

5) What will my 9 month old daughter learn at Mandarin Storytime?

Several studies describe the benefits of learning a second language as early as possible. You may not hear your child speak Mandarin after a few classes of Mandarin Storytime. Nevertheless, they are soaking up intonation, culture and grammar structures. We are overjoyed when parents tell us about their child’s first Chinese word learned from Mandarin Storytime!

6) Can my mother-in-law attend Mandarin Storytime?

We welcome parents, grandparents and other caregivers to Mandarin Storytime. However, we do have to limit the class to a maximum of two adults per child because of room capacity.

7) Can I bring my son’s 3 month old sister to Mandarin Storytime?

Yes. Siblings under 6 months can attend Mandarin Storytime for free. If babies start crying, we do ask that you step out of the classroom so as not to disturb the rest of the class.

8) Is there homework for Little Dragons?

Yes there is. Students practice speaking, listening and understanding Mandarin at home. As students progress through the Little Dragons program, we add on typing assignments.

The homework instructions are simple and easy to follow. Parents with no prior knowledge of Mandarin can follow along. In fact, several parents have reported that by helping their child with Little Dragons homework, they have learned a lot of Mandarin themselves!

9) How come Little Dragons is for such a wide age range (4-7 years)?

Little Dragons is for a wide age range for two reasons. First, we do not believe age should determine what level a student should be at. Students learn from each other and especially so when there is a mix of younger and older students in the class. A four year old may have some prior Mandarin knowledge from grandparents while a seven year old may have no prior Mandarin experience at all. Both will learn from each other.

Secondly, parents are often grateful that our classes can accommodate siblings who are close in age as this means just one drop-off and pick-up time and location!

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