frequently asked questions

When should my child start learning Mandarin?

You should start as soon as possible.  Research shows that critical period of human language acquisition and development is between the ages of zero to five. The earlier they start to be exposed to a language, the more native-like they will be speaking that language. In addition, learning language and early year literacy development contribute to human intellectual development as a whole. We accept students as young as 13 months.


What is the student make up policy at the center?

Our students come from all over the city and from very diverse backgrounds.  There are native speakers, non-native speakers, children adopted from China, and grade school students to teenagers from multi-cultural background with no formal connection to China, but are all passionate about learning the language and culture.  Adults who are learning to speak Chinese as a hobby to professional planning a business meeting also attend classes at the center.


Who are your teachers?

Our staff include experienced, native-speaking Chinese teachers, many of who are graduates of Universities in the U.S. and China.  Staff development workshops led by teaching professionals, are conducted on a regular basis.  Our staff is connected to the most current learning techniques with our relationships with teaching universities in China.


Do you offer private lessons?

Yes. Private lessons are offered.  Please check with the office for available days and times.  Privates and Tutoring classes require a 48-hour confirmed cancellation otherwise, the full class fee will be charged.


Can my child start in the middle of the year?

Yes. We will make every effort to accomdate your child. Please contact Zhaoyi for schedule information and any make up work. 


How can I find a tutor?

We are able to source a tutor for your child's learning needs from our pool of teachers.  These times can be used to review lessons, do homework or to practice speaking and listening skills.  Please call the office for available days and times.   All tutoring session cancellations need to be made 48 hours ahead of the scheduled time to avoid charges.


Do you have classes for teenagers?

Various options are available for teens depending on their level, age, and specific learning needs.  An accelerated beginners class, private in-person or skype lessons, or even the adult class are all possibilities. 


Do you have adult classes?

We offer adult classes through out the week.


Do you offer corporate programs?

We offer language programs on your company's premises.  Please contact the office for more detailed information.


Can I bring a sibling?

While the sibling is not able to join the class, they can wait with you assuming a caretaker or parent will be supervising him/her in the lounge area.  We welcome him/her to play quietly.


Do you teach simplified or traditional Chinese?

We teach simplified Chinese and Mandarin based on the language system of Mainland China.


We do not have a Chinese-speaking household; how will we be able to support our children with their studies?

In addition to home work given in class and on-line support provided by www.ChinaFriendsUSA.org we can also provide you with additional tools to create a fuller immersion environment in your home.  The more exposure to the language, the more fluent the learner will become.    In addition to the weekly lessons, there is homework, reading assignments, special projects and on-line interactive exercises.  We are also able to help you source Chinese music, Mandarin DVD's and other video learning technologies in order to give each student the best opportunities to reinforce new material.


Do teachers speak more Mandarin or English in class?

All classes try to use only Mandarin in the classroom.  The unique approach we take in teaching Mandarin includes body language, facial expression, visuals, flashcards and computers.  Without much English/Chinese translation, we ensure a smooth teacher/student communication and interaction in the classroom 


May I observe a class?

Depending on the type of class, observations are allowed.  For the 3-and-under observations and participation are allowed and encouraged.  For the older student classes, observation times are limited in order to minimize disruptions and preserve a conducive learning environment.


How do you teach Chinese Phonetics?

We use the Pinyin system that does have some similarity with English phonics, however it also has its own distinguished sounds and tones.  We use many effective teaching strategies to help students differentiate them.  By comparing them, many students can use their knowledge of English to help learn Pinyin.  Our on-line support has many tools to help students master the unique sounds and tones of the language.


What is the class size?

To ensure that our students get maximum attention and the best possible experience, enrollment will be limited to 6 students in our classes for ages 5 and under and 8 students in classes for ages 5+.  In the unlikely event that we needed to exceed normal limits, a teaching assistant would be added to ensure that class quality and individual attention is not compromised.


Can I sit in the class with my child?

We want your child to feel as comfortable as possible.  For ages 3 and under we strongly encourage parents/caretakers to participate and learn with the child.  For students 3+, we provide a parent lounge area with wireless internet access so that your child can feel safe that you are near by. 


Can I just sign up for speaking classes without reading and writing instruction?

Our belief is that language is all about communication.  To handle communication more effectively today, we cannot separate listening and speaking, reading and writing.  Our program is geared towards literacy and from our experience, to fully advance in the language, one needs to know how to read and write in addition to speaking and verbal comprehension.



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