First day of school can be exciting for some kids and a little nerve wrecking for others. Throwing immersion school into the mix and it can seem even more daunting.
The good news is, preparing your child for the first day of immersion school is pretty similar to first day of any preschool or kindergarten.
This is something we’re faced with this fall as I prepare my daughter for kindergarten.
At first we were planning on homeschooling her. She would attend a local co-op three days a week where she would be taught all subjects in English and on the two days she’s home, I would focus on Chinese.
But in March we found out that we’re expecting and really wanted to have the baby in Taiwan. This way, I can stay at a postpartum center and my daughter can attend a local bilingual school with Taiwanese kids that my friend opened.
Here are 5 quick and easy ways to prepare you and your child for the first day of immersion school so both you and your child are ready for the exciting day!
5 Easy Tips to Prepare for Immersion School
- Talk about it: take time to ask them how they feel about first day of immersion school, what they look forward to, what questions or worries they have. Give them space and opportunity to process with you so they know they have someone they can talk about it with.
- Visit the school or meet up with classmates: Take advantage of the opportunities schools provide for your child to meet their new teacher and familiarize themselves with the new environment. If you already know some of the new classmates that will be in the same class or school, set up a playdate at the park to help your child have someone familiar to look forward to seeing the first day. Some immersion schools also offer online classes in the summer. Take advantage of these opportunities for your child to meet their new teachers and classmates as well. This is what we’ve been doing this summer in preparation for the immersion school my daughter will be attending in Taiwan.
- Read books about kids starting immersion school for the first time: There are more and more books being published about kids who attend immersion schools. Here are two: Travel Learn & See Your Friends by Edna Ma, My Bilingual School Life by Sylvia Chen. A great way to open opportunities to talk about and process first day of immersion school feelings.
General children’s books (in English or Chinese) about the first day of school can serve this purpose as well.
- Review the Language: Although kids don’t need to enter immersion preschool or kindergarten with any background in the language, it may help prep them by equipping them with some common phrases. These phrases can either be school related or simply words they’ve learned in the past. Remember to keep it fun and lighthearted especially for younger children to help them have positive associations with language learning. Here are some great Mandarin/Cantonese shows on Netflix & Amazon Prime Video to get started. Or start listening to some fun Chinese kids songs!
- Let them pick out their school supplies: I don’t know about you. But I always looked forward to new school supplies each year. Even in college, picking out items I need in the colors and patterns I like made the new year fun and exciting for me. Involve your kids and get them excited by letting them choose some of their new immersion school supplies or even a new first day of school outfit. My daughter’s really into rainbows and unicorns so we got her a new unicorn water bottle.
Be sure to check out my free first day of school printable sign too!
Chinese Learning Must Haves:
- Top 8 Must Have Chinese Learning App for Teaching Your Child Chinese
- Chinese Podcasts for Parents & Kids
- YouDao Mandarin & English Dictionary/Translation Pen
- 7 Secrets to Chinese Retention: How I’m Still Fluent Despite Immigrating at 8
- 4 Things I Do to Improve My Chinese for Parenting
Don’t Do It Alone!
For more support from likeminded parents, please join us at Bilingual Parenting Village
Another great FaceBook groups for parents raising bilingual kids: Raising Bilingual Parents in Chinese & English