Study time for the children

Here in my hometown we got to know over the years other Chinese-German couples with kids. This town is not big but it is interesting to see how many Chinese leave here by now (compared to my childhood when the only Chinese here were running restaurants). We never really thought much about it until we met last month for a hot pot round at a friend’s place and we had suddenly eight mixed children running around and making some noise. Back then we (okay mostly the mothers) were thinking how great it would be for the kids to come together more often and play and talk in Mandarin.

Some of the kids during the first lesson

Just a week after our eating round we decided to meet several times a month for a little study round for the kids. Actually it can’t be really considered real studying as it is more about having more access to Mandarin for the children such as reading books, learning some about the numbers and characters. As we are no small round it was difficult at first to figure out where to have these meetings but one of the couples are also managing a club home (in fact the very same club I used to be a member in during my swimming days) and there is more than enough space for all of us. Best of all is that the club home is located very close to us so it is just 10 min away by walking.

And another picture in that awful phone camera quality

The children always “study” a bit for half hour, play together for half hour and then study a bit more. Children that young are not really fond of just sitting still for such long time so the playing time helps them to let out some energy. All of the kids are really looking forward to each Sunday as they can meet their friends and play. Our Nathan is the oldest with his five years and the youngest one is just half year old though she is not yet participating and usually clings on her father while we chat. We were always wondering how to get our children more access to Chinese and never thought how many in the very same situation as us are already living here. One couple just moved here from China this summer and they are certainly happy to meet up with other parents with the same background here in this little town.

Did you visit similar “meetings” in your childhood or sent/ are planning to do so with your children?

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10 thoughts on “Study time for the children”

  1. I had a play group that was all half-Asian kids for a while. I was the only non-Asian mom, but the others were Japanese-American and Korean-American, so we were all speaking in English.

    There are tons of Japanese and Chinese schools to send your kids to on Saturdays, though.

    1. For us here in this nearly rural area it is a bit harder so we were really happy to find so many others. Somehow I forgot to mention in the blog post that Chinese kids are also participating in our group, too many Chinese families here where the kids can barely speak anything in mandarin/ Cantonese.
      For our group the focus is just about being more surrounded with Mandarin and to learn to speak it with their friends. That is also the reason why the dads are all banned into another room in order bit to pollute the lessons with German or terrible chinese

  2. This is great! I would love to find some South Africans in my community to speak Afrikaans to but I have only encountered one or two people since we moved out of London.

      1. Oh my, I had read your comment several hours before actually replying, seems that I memorized it a tad bit wrong. Was already wondering how it could be possible not to have such community in London.
        I guess you live in a similar small town as we, so finding communities or even some people with the same background is very hard.

  3. That’s a great idea! When Baby A. is older, if we are still in China, I hope I can find some Spanish expats or mixed families of a similar age to hang out with. For the moment his only exposure to Spanish when we’re here is through me and a couple of talking toys we brought from Spain haha. But I do have quite a lot of children books in Spanish thanks to Taobao!

    1. I bet you will find some families in your city. Afterall in our tiny town we found several families without even trying!
      The kids have a great time and they have something to look forward in sundays usually just spend at home or taking walks (everything closed here..)

  4. What a great situation for you and your kids! It’s ideal.

    It’s too bad our kids didn’t have such an opportunity. When they were growing up, my husband seldom spoke Chinese with them. He taught them a word here and there. That was all. He was the only Chinese in our small town, and in those days, China was locked away from the rest of the world by what we called the “bamboo curtain.” I think he thought we would never have a chance to visit China, so we didn’t need to learn Chinese. Later, our oldest daughter learned Chinese in high school. The second daughter got a degree in International Relations and became fluent in Russian. The third daughter married someone with Puerto Rican heritage and studied Spanish. You never know where life will take you.

    1. Back in my youth / kindergarten I was talking finnish better than german. Time were different so the staff forbade my mother to continue talking finnish with me, so I got better in German. That ruined basically all my hope in getting any very fluent in Finnish later on even though I studied it for so many years.
      Our kids are in German and Chinese on the same level thus far and we will help them as much as possible continuing like that. Nathan understands some english and Finnish as well so there is still hope 🙂

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