17 Oct '11, 12pm

Focus on teaching mother tongue in pre-schools, says our reader. Agree?

IF WE agree with former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew's advice ('English in school, Mandarin at home'; Oct 8), we could take it a step further by having mother tongue taught as a first language in play schools and pre-schools. As language is best grasped at a young age, two-year-old toddlers should be exposed almost exclusively to their mother tongue, with English taught as a second language and its number of lessons increased later. Concentrate on teaching conversational Mandarin, so that by the time they finish pre-school, children will be exposed to 1,000 Chinese words and phrases. They should be able to articulate daily happenings in life and recite a 100- to 200-word story fluently. Acquiring a good Mandarin foundation during a child's early years has other benefits. The child will be able to integrate mother tongue with his identity and take ownership of the language, ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/OnlineStory/STIStory_...

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