One of our lovely contributors checked out the Mulberry House with her kiddo for a lovely afternoon of Mandarin immersion…
Hong Kong, being the melting pot that it is gives one a vantage point in terms of exposure to people and cultures from all over the world. What constitutes a large part of culture is language. Language is a means by which we can connect and break barriers. However, it can get tough keeping up with language requirements as an expat parent because children most often tend to veer towards the language of choice at the playground. Language support in the right form can be a boon to us all.
The Mulberry House which is located in the Universal Trade Centre on Caine Road is a unique playgroup and activity centre that offers full immersion Mandarin programs for children up to the age of 6. Jessica Ye, the founder of The Mulberry House is an ex-banker and a mother of two little boys. She felt the need for a novel way to teach Mandarin to kids in Hong Kong. She found that the existing system was missing some key elements, such as:
- Not enough exposure.
- Not enough interesting teaching support material in Mandarin.
- Too much emphasis on repetitive teaching so children end up learning through rote.
- Not many native Mandarin teachers out there.
To fill these gaps the Mulberry House came about. Classes are inspired by the Reggio Emilia system that relies on environmental factors to aid learning using the support of Montessori methodology. Great pain is taken to cherry pick teachers who are native speakers, well qualified and innovative enough to teach Mandarin in a colourful, exciting way.
I got a chance to sit in on one of the Mandarin Playgroups and watch my 4-year-old daughter get engrossed in learning the language and speak it with confidence and in the correct accent! At the Mulberry House, I found that there is a great emphasis on learning through play and story telling, both of which are invaluable tools in sparking the imagination and cognitive abilities of the mind. When something is taught through the telling of a story the listener is bound to start using his or her mind to fill in the gaps, question and wonder what happens next. When communication is made in only one language, over time the mind will start thinking and responding in that language. And, that is how the seeds of a language can be successfully sowed in a child’s mind.
Mandarin Classes at the Mulberry House are definitely worth a try for those of you who are looking for an out of the box approach to teaching language. From the spacious, minimalistic décor to the painstakingly detailed class curriculum, the effort and heart invested in this learning centre is apparent. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and as a parent you feel there is room to step in and air your doubts and suggestions and be heard. There is a certain sensitivity offered at the Mulberry House that is a breath of fresh air in the fast paced educational scene in Hong Kong.
Besides offering Full Immersion Mandarin classes, the Mulberry House also offers its space to vendors (in any medium of instruction) for classes such as dance, sports, drama and more. Contact the Mulberry House for more information about these classes. Also, the space is let out for birthday parties where there is enough place to conduct fun activities and/or just let the kids run wild in a clean safe environment, giving you a chance sit back and relax.
Visit the website at www.mulberryhouseasia.com to learn more about their classes, curriculum and philosophy.