WHO ARE WE?
Skylace Language School was established in 1989 by a group of young & dedicated individuals with an undying passion in teaching children the beauty and usefulness of the Chinese language. In 1997, we opened up our first branch in Malaysia. As we enter the 21st century, learning Mandarin has become crucial for our development. We believe that language development has to start from the early years of childhood. Since then, more than 20,000 students from Singapore and Malaysia have passed through our doors, excelling in Mandarin.
Placing an emphasis on phonetics, our experienced team, consisting of our school principal, children drama consultants, qualified teachers, authors of children’s literature have developed a systematic and comprehensive Chinese language programme for children. Our programme covers a wide spectrum of courses: ranging from pinyin to word formation; improving writing skills to supplementary exercise to complement school work. We also believe that when the fun stops, learning stops too. With this in mind, our lessons are conducted in a lively & nurturing environment using modern and fun techniques. To-date, more than 10,000 pupils have benefited from our programme. It has helped many students improve their standard of Chinese and gives them more confidence to speak and use the language. Most importantly, the teaching methods we adopted able children to think that learning mandarin is fun and easy!
WHY CHOOSE US?
It’s never too early to learn a second language. Being able to converse in a number of languages is a usseful skill. We Malaysians, for the most part, are largely bilingual, perhaps passably trilingual. To ensure that our children continue to have this advantage, many second-generation parents employ all sorts of methods to start the kids on the multi-linguistic path: sending them to Grandma, hiring a foreign maid, packing them off to language centres and tuition classes are some of the usual ones.
It’s commonly known that children pick up languages much faster than aduls do. A baby has an astouding number of words in his vocabulary in the short two to fours years he spends listening and playing with his parents or primary caregivers. It is difficult for an adult or even a teenager to duplicate such results with equal ease or speed.
Research has shown that infants who play and interact with people who speak foreign languages may learn and develop better language skills. Children who learn to speak two languagest once sound like native in both tongues. And their learning moves at the same pace as kids who learn only a single language. The earlier a child is exposed to a second language, the better he will be at it. A child will not be confused by a second language or delayed in learning his primary language.
Studies have shown that infants can tell the difference between the phonetic units of all languages, including both foreign-and native-language sounds, at an ealy age. But between 6 and 12 months of age, this ability begins to decline. It’s now known, however, that social interaction with foreign speakers can help prevent the natural decline.
Experiments involving two groups of 9-month old America infants showed that the babies who had spent time with native Mandarin speakers were able to discriminate between two very similar Chinese phonetic sounds that so not occur in English. The group of babies who had spent time with English speakers (their mother tongue), were not able to distinguish any difference.
There is also an extra advantage besides added fluency: billingual children are better than single-language children in attention-switching. Because they are constantly switching attention between two languages, a side benefit of this ability is that they are better a areas of thinking or in activities that use this attention-switching skill.
Why Mandarin, specifically? Because it gives your child the ability to order food from hawkers, give directions to cab drivers, haggle over prices at the wet market or pasar malam, and know when a salesperson is ripping hime of. Seriously, though, Mandarin is a useful second language to have for an number of reasons, not least of which has to do with China’s grown; economic power.
So if you’re thinking of sending your child for Mandarin classes, our review of three centres for young children should serve as a good starting point.
In Malaysia since the later part of 1997, Skylace specialises in Mandarin for those aged 18 months to 17 years. The curriculum is adapted from the Singapore syllabi to suit Malaysian children. Grace, the ownder and teacher of the centre, said that the syllabus is tailored to suit children who have ‘zero-backhround in Mandarin’ or are late learners. Many students at Skylace are children whose parents speak not a word of Mandarin and these children really do learn from scratch. The kids at Skylace ate mainly Chinese, but there is a growing pool of Caucasions, Indians and Malays. The centre offers a wide range of programmes for students of all levels and ages, including adult classes.
The teacher/student ratio in class ia 1:5, and the maximum number of students in one class is ten. We sat in for the Morning Kiddie Class, which is for children aged 2 1/2 to 3 years old. Their class hours are from 9:30am till 11:30am, Monday to Friday. Within the two hours, the children went through simple conversation, verbal sentence making, an introduction to Chinese characters, stoy telling and appreciation, recitation of nursery rhymes, grammar concepts, cartoons and educational videotapes, songs, games, and art and craft. After all that, they still had time to wash their hands and have a light brunch complete with crockery neatly set out. Everything is done while speaking Mandarin. If a child spoke to his teachers in English, the teacher would simply smile and respond in Mandarin until he got the idea.
Homework ia made as minimal as possible. as the students progress to higher levels, there will be bits of homework added, but not for children who go to Chinese schools, stressed Grace. She feels that Chinese school students are already overloaded with too much work. Homework goes mainly to government and international school students who require repetition and constant contact with the Chinese alphabet in order to make up for the lack of ooportunities to speak or read the language at home or school.
There are ten teachers at the Taman Tun branch of the centre. All of them are university graduates of different disciplines who have trained for half a year or more with Skylace. They are speak good Mandarin “without any local slang”. according to Grace.
One term is ten weeks, two official accessments a term, However, if a teacher thinks that a child is weak, she will probably not wait till end term to speak with his parents.
In Partnership With
The Orange Tree Preschool is the first of its kind in Malaysia, located in Wisma TA, Damansara Utama. In partnership with Orange Tree Preschool Singapore, we aim to bring quality Early Years education to Malaysia. We welcome you and your child to embark on an enriching journey together. In partnership, let’s “Empower Your Child To Be Future Ready”.