In September when we brought our Lucy girl home, she was three and one-half years old. She both understood and spoke Chinese, her native language. For the past four plus months she has been immersed in English (with a few rare occasions when friends who know Mandarin would sweetly chat with her in Chinese, but because of her shyness and lack of confidence usually the conversation is one sided :(
We have been asked on several occasions, "is she going to keep her Chinese language?" That can't happen unless she is exposed to hearing and talking in Chinese on a regular basis. We weren't sure how we could "help Lucy keep her native tongue and learn more" while also learning English.
During our last visit to the Asian grocery story, I decided to inquire if there were any local places that teach Mandarin. The lady at the check out told me she had remembered seeing a sign that was posted about learning Mandarin (Chinese dialect Lucy is familiar with) at a local church only a few blocks from the store. I put both Sadie and Lucy in their car seats, loaded the the groceries and sure enough forgot to "run by the church she mentioned." Can I still blame it on "adoption brain" or have I been home too long for that? ;0)
Later in the day it occurred to me that I forgot to check out the church the lady mentioned. I decided to "google" Chinese churches in our county. I was very surprised to find that a church I was very familiar with and only about 10 -15 minutes from our house had a Chinese school! I called and inquired. It was interesting to learn that the school was newly formed and had completed it's very first semester in December 2013. Their second semester was scheduled to begin in a week and a half (mid-January through May)! Classes meet weekly and one of their classes is for pre-schoolers 3 to 6 years old.
As expected, Lucy was hesitant when we arrived at our first day of class. (classes are 75 min. long) There are a total of seven students in her pre-school class- three boys and four girls (two of them having the name Lucy!). While portraying a rather stoic looking face, she watched the other children and the teachers intently, hesitant to participate. She made sure to have physical touch of either Mom or Dad at all times during the first 45 minutes or so. But slowly, she started to warm up and even show a hint of a smirk. About 60 minutes in, she was participating with the hand motions and also taking her turn during circle time when asked to repeat a particular Chinese word or phrase! We have no idea if this will be a one semester activity or longer but meeting new friends is always fun!
|See my "stoic face?"|
|Let me observe here what they're wanting me to do|
|Alright this isn't too bad|
|warming up and having fun - 1st week|
|Learning to write in pinyin - week 2|
|Not bad for writing as a "lefty" when you're right handed!|