This is a very belated post as Kaylene already had her debut on stage on 17 Dec 2010. I'd still like to post it so I can share my thoughts of sending Kaylene to the Beijing Language School's Speech and Drama Holiday Programme.
Kaylene was with me when I signed her up for the holiday programme and she cried because she didn't really like the idea of attending something in Mandarin. When I first told my husband, my mum and MIL about signing kaylene up for chinese holiday programme, all responses were quite disapproving. They thought I should be the one teaching her chinese instead of sending her to some school to learn., since I can speak and write Chinese. I must say I was almost guilty of it after hearing all the comments!
Well, I did try to teach, but somehow didn't get much of her interest and she would at times refuse to let me speak mandarin to her. It seemed difficult for her to grasp the 4 tones of Mandarin accurately also hence she would sound almost like a caucasian learning to speak mandarin. So after a little struggle, i tried to comfort myself that my main objective in sending her to the school was to give her some exposure in a Mandarin speaking environment.
Kaylene enjoyed her first day of class despite not understanding anything the teacher said in Mandarin. I was almost paranoid and even checked with her at the end of every other classes if she enjoyed herself. She went on for 16 lessons, every tues - friday for 1.5hr, she didn't say anything about disliking her chinese classes! I was so proud of her!
I found out the reasons. Mostly was that she liked her amicable teacher and she liked dancing to the lively chinese songs. She also enjoyed the little crafts done. Although she didn't understand a lot, she mangaged to find some funny lyrics and actions she learnt and showed them to me laughing away! Another thing that motivated my girl was the sweets and biscuits teacher rewards the students who learnt to speak some simple words/phrase that were taught for the day. Kaylene would come back telling me about how she gotten her sweet rewards. Sometimes, I could catch her singing some chinese songs unconciously while she was playing. *my heart would smile*
At home, I'd also revise some of the chinese songs and poems (唐詩Tang Shi) with her. I guessed this helped to enhance her interest as she knew we are involved too.
On the day of performance, I was glad Kaylene did not have any stage fright. She was such an anxious girl. I think the school did a great job in preparing them for the day. Rehearsing, costume making etc.
On stage, she danced well, tried to remember the chinese songs, but still not very good, tried to say DI ZI GUI (弟子规), (Standards for being a Good Student and Child), I knew she could only remember 4 verses out of 36. Despite these, I knew she enjoyed her first stage performance and I'm glad of her accomplishment!
Below are some of the pictures from her performances at the Sengkang CC
she was very excited as it was her first time putting on make-ups.
Her first outfit, a bunny.
2nd outfit for the 2nd performance.
performance finale. picture with all the teachers and students in the holiday programme
This was one of the songs she learnt and was video-ed the night before her performance.
About teeny tiny thumbkins.
Yi zhi xiao zhi tou ya, Zhuan ya zhuan ya Zhuan ya....
Now I would say Kaylene's exposure to the chinese learning environment is beneficial. No regrets and I'm glad I've signed her up! She has since become more open to speaking Mandarin and writing chinese characters, and her 4 tones are so much better. Now, she can memorise and say DI ZI GUI in 8 verses with correct tones. Here's an extract of DI ZI GUI for the curious. Meaning and full version can be found here.
I had fun reciting it with her too!