I did a trial run of the Lesson 1 with my 2-year old Rosie. It seemed like we were off to a good start. She was so excited to have a pencil and her own folder. She even refused to take her backpack off while taking class – she was a serious student.
We started with the vocabulary sheet and I taught her the names of family members. It was a lot of me talking and pointing and she repeating me. She was doing good until perhaps four or five minutes in, she decided my beautiful lesson was boring and to show this she tipped her head back and pretended to sleep.
I was shocked! I started with the easiest, simplest lesson and her attention was already waning. We stumbled through the dialogue, again with a lot of pointing and repeating. Her eyes were glazed over like doughnuts. Perhaps she was realizing what school was.
At about 8 or 9 minutes, I cut the lessons off. I wondered if she had learned anything!
BUT THEN! Later, while I was helping her get dressed after a bath, she fell into my arms and said the Chinese for “I love you.” That was something we had learned in the dialogue! Then it got me thinking, even though our Chinese lesson was over, the learning had just begun.
When her dad left to go to a meeting, we yelled out to him, “Bàba zàijiàn!” When we went to wake Simon up from his nap, I instructed her to say, “Dìdi, nǐhǎo.”
This continued on for a couple of days! It made made me understand that when teaching very young children, the formal sitting down and learning time must be short. Young kids need tiny lessons. But after the lesson is over, let the true learning begin!