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London now has two Mandarin immersion nursery schools

September 9, 2017

This type of what we would term a preschool in the U.S. always amazes me. London, as far as I know, only has one Mandarin immersion K – 8 school. If you don’t speak Chinese at home, having your child learn Mandarin when they’re 3 and 4 is an interesting choice if there’s nowhere they can continue with the language.

Most families I know who have spent time abroad say their kids readily picked up the local language (if they were exposed to it through preschool or babysitters) but lost it within six months of returning to an English-only environment. So what’s the point of spending a lot of money to send your child to a Mandarin immersion preschool if they won’t be able to continue the language? I’m simply curious. It’s not an economic choice I would make.

That said, at least in San Francisco families choose Mandarin immersion preschools with the thought that it will help them get into one of the city’s now four Mandarin immersion grade schools (two public, two private.)

To be brutal about it, having your child learn to speak Mandarin at age 4 and then lose it is not going to make them a “dragon.” (by which I presume they’re thinking “ruler of the world.”) But perhaps I’m just feeling cynical today…


China’s influence grows as bilingual Mandarin nursery group plans further expansion in London


With China’s economy booming, demand for Mandarin has risen in the UK to the extent that its first bilingual Mandarin-English nursery group has just opened its second setting, with a further two in the planning stages.

Credit: Hatching Dragons

Hatching Dragons opened its first nursery in the Barbican back in 2015. However it proved to be so popular, that it has just opened another nursery in Richmond. It is also planning to open another in Westminster and one near Canary Wharf.

People in Britain are quickly realizing the value of speaking Mandarin, the language of the world’s second biggest economy. Last year, the UK’s first bilingual Mandarin-English independent school opened and the Department for Education also launched a new £10m initiative to expand Mandarin teaching in state schools across the country.

Cenn John, founder of Hatching Dragons said the nursery group’s expansion has proved London parents recognise the importance of preparing children for an increasingly global world and of nurturing greater intercultural understanding.

Please read more here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. magnetsfromeverywhere permalink
    September 11, 2017 11:12 am

    Even if they don’t end up speaking the language, it still exercised their young brains and there is value to that. Maybe the parents plan to have them in weekend school after pre-school? In that instance, having a strong foundation from preschool would help them a lot.

    Personally, we are committed to continuing with Mandarin education past pre-school (we started when they were 18 months and 2). I’m not sure where we’ll be living for their entire childhood, but I’m committed to finding a way to make it work.

    Right now we’re on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area and there are plenty of options, so the hard part is just picking a program and getting in!

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