Friday, November 22, 2013

You Station - Because Chinese Oracy Matters + GIVEAWAY!

Dumpling attended a Chinese Oracy camp a few months ago and I really like the concept of the workshop where she got to attend some excursions as well as had the chance to explore Chinese idioms as part of the Oracy Programme. It was a 4-day camp where half of the 3 days were spent on excursions of which she visited a radio station, Mint Toy Museum and NEWater plant. The great thing was that all tours were conducted in Mandarin! :)

Dumpling with some 'camp-mates' at a radio station

At NEWater - see if you can spot Dumpling who was trying to get a shot of some light and water elements in the ground

Dumpling posing with a simple Bento open face 'sandwich' I made for her with a TV screen! :) 

My interest was a little piqued on this special focus on Chinese Oracy and I reached out to the directors of the Centre on their goals and thoughts on the Chinese language. Celestine Low is an established writer for the media industry having held core production roles for multiple prime-time Chinese programmes such as Star Awards, Star Search and Who Wants to be a Millionaire, etc. 

Michelle Chia is a well known, accomplished local actress in the media industry. She is also known to be an effectively bilingual TV host who started her journey in the media industry at 6 years old. 

:: What sparked off the interest to start You Station at the start of this year, especially when you both are busy with your jobs in the media industry? 

I was Chinese educated in my primary school years; whereby I took Chinese as a First Language and English as a Second Language. And that builds a strong foundation in my Chinese language. Being immersed in a Chinese speaking environment both in school and at home since young, I am deeply rooted in the mother tongue and have a strong passion for the language. Throughout my years of work in the Media industry as a Advertising Copywriter and a Research Writer for MediaCorp, being bilingual has opened up numerous good opportunities for me. 

I see the importance of being bilingual and also to retain the roots of our mother tongue which our new generation seems to be slowly losing. It saddens me to see the children around me disliking Chinese or can't speak the language. And it struck me especially hard one day when my daughter at the age of 4 then, told me that she doesn't want to speak Mandarin as she is an "English" because she speaks English and all her classmates speak English too. 

I was totally surprised upon hearing that because my daughter was born and lived in Shanghai for nearly 3 years and at that time, we have only returned to Singapore less than a year and she has attended her preschool for merely half a year. I then started to create a more Mandarin speaking environment at home, exposing them to Chinese kids programmes, using fun activities such as word games to reinforce their word recognition etc. I am glad and proud to say that my children enjoy learning Chinese now and they are pretty good at it. So it's important to create an appetite for the Chinese language, let kids learn through the fun way and they'll get better with practice. I have also observed that our primary school Chinese curriculum focuses mainly on worksheets and children have very little oral practice in school and also at home. Hence they are generally weak in their Chinese oral presentation. I sincerely hope You Station can play a part in nurturing and stirring up interest in the Chinese language for the young generation.   

I love children and have always wanted to work with them since young. Though I've always had the dream to start a school long time ago, I haven't been able to find THE real direction. In the recent years I got more chances to communicate with children of family and friends, and it saddens me to see resentment in learning and speaking of the Chinese language.

Given the chance to be immersed in a Mandarin speaking environment at a very young age gave me the opportunity to learn and practice both languages. It opened many doors throughout my career, enabling me to host in both Chinese and English programmes. I sincerely wish to see our younger generations be proud of their mother tongue and are able to keep their roots. Most of all, knowing more than one language is definitely an advantage in life in all aspects. 

:: So what do you hope to achieve with the setting up with You Station?
- To create an appetite for Chinese language in the young children.
- To help eliminate fear in children in learning Chinese and speaking Mandarin.
- To reach out to the children in their early childhood to strengthen their language foundation.
- To be able to show them that learning Chinese can also be fun. And being able to speak Mandarin is cool! Be proud to say 'I am Chinese',  NOT 'I am English because I speak English'. 

:: How is You Station, as an enrichment centre, different from that of other centres?

We believe that You Station has an unique curriculum:
1. You Station is a Chinese Oracy School. We focus on building confidence in the oral presentation, improving reading & listening skills, comprehension skills and enriching vocabulary in children.

2. The curriculum at YOU Station is under-girded by our belief that play is a powerful tool to overcome the fear of language learning.

3. Our activities in class are specially designed to be fun and interactive, enabling children to learn in a stress-free environment. One of the key strategies used in YOU Station is in creating an Edutainment Hub through role-playing as news readers and reciting stories in front of You Station "TV" and video-camera to build confidence in public speaking. Activities like picture talk, experiential learning, show & tell, word games and other music and dramatised elements.

4. Children are immersed in a Mandarin speaking environment for 1.5 hours weekly to speak, read & listen. They are given more opportunities to speak Mandarin and to read aloud in front of their teacher and classmates. With weekly practice, they get better in speaking Mandarin and reading; thus gradually build up their confidence in public speaking.

5. Experiential learning is an unique element in our preschool curriculum; children learn vocabulary and knowledge through the 5 senses. To prepare children for their primary one, we include picture talk in our K1 & K2 programmes.

6. News reading is the highlight of our primary school curriculum. We also learn practical idioms through the fun way.

Importantly, You Station's curriculum is activities-based whereas most Chinese enrichment centres are worksheets-based. We focus on speaking, listening, reading & word recognition through fun activities while other enrichment centres place more focus on writing (doing worksheets).

Our curriculum is also packed closely to the primary school examinations; like we have picture talk, show & tell,  news reading etc., that'll equip children for their oral assessment in school. Such activities also help in comprehension and composition.

:: In the course of working with children, what are some of your most memorable experiences? 

One of our students who used to dislike Chinese and wouldn't speak a word of Mandarin came to my teacher and me one Saturday showing us a sheet of Chinese lyrics of a song. He said he likes that song and is learning to sing it. And so my teacher encouraged him and sing together with him :-). That to be says a lot about the change in the student's mindset towards the Chinese Language.

In our classes, children are given the time to draw. I am always very happy to receive a few hand drawn cards from our students as this goes to show that they enjoy their learning experience here.

:: What has been the most rewarding part about the setting up of You Station? 
We get immense satisfaction when parents feedback that their child has started speaking Mandarin to them at home and their school teachers say that they are happy learning during Chinese classes. We also had some children who refused to speak a word of Mandarin when they first joined us replying us in Mandarin after some time.

Importantly, we are happy to learn from the parents that their children look forward coming to our school every week. Some children who used to be shy and speak softly now able to speak in front of their teacher and classmates confidently and loudly :-) and this speaks a lot about their self esteem and the lack of resistance now towards Mandarin.

:: I believe that the readers would love to learn from your experience. Can you share some tips on how a parent can support their child(ren) in the learning of Chinese / love of Chinese better?
1. Speak Mandarin to your children (if parents are able to) even when they answer back in English. It takes time but you'll hear them replying back in Mandarin.
2. Read with them daily. Start this habit from young!

3. Watch Chinese kids programmes. catch up TV has some nice ones; or watch their favourite cartoons dubbed in Mandarin. My 4 & 7 years old daughters enjoy watching Peppa Pig in Chinese and my girls speak like Peppa Pig now :-))

4. Recognise that it is a learning journey - bring them to places they are interested in and speak Mandarin along the way.
1. Introduce them to Chinese pop songs. Tune your radio in the car to a Chinese station and discuss about what you hear over the radio. Listening is the most efficient way to learn.

2. The younger a child starts learning a language, the faster they can pick it up.

3. Share stories and/or news with children that can indirectly show them that Chinese can also be cool. Show them videos of other children performing in Mandarin if they like singing, or even dancing. They are always curious about other young kids and are attracted by what they do.

4. If the child watches cartoons, look out for their favourite ones dubbed in Mandarin. They will be learning without realising it and you'll be surprised when they suddenly regurgitate what they've heard. My nieces did that because my mom listens to Chinese songs while traveling with them in the car.

:: What are the classes offered at You Station and why specifically those areas? 
Currently, we offer classes from 4 - 10 years old. Next year, we'll add on 3 years old parent-accompanied class & PSLE preparation class (11 & 12 years old). We are starting a Chinese Calligraphy class as we think that it is nice for the children to have a chance to learn some traditional Chinese Art form.

Exclusive to Beanie N Us Readers!
I have a total of 16 passes to give away for a free trial class worth a total of $640 to give away!

Here's how to win!

Earn credits using Rafflecopter below by:

1) Clicking 'Like' on You Station Facebook page and my Blog Facebook page
2) Leaving a comment in the comment section on "One tip which you can share on encouraging an interest in the Chinese language with your child(ren)!" (Please also provide the age of your child so we know how to allocate the slot)
3) Sharing this post with your friends on your FB page! 
(For Singapore residents only)

The more credits you earn, the higher your chances! :)

Note: Class timings for the trials are provided by You Station based on the centre's classes schedules as below. This is for first-time students only. As the classes are held in Singapore, participants need to be Singapore residents. The trial class is not exchangeable for cash or for other workshops. By taking part in this giveaway, you agree to share your contact details with You Station.


Trial timing are as below:
4 Years Old - 4 passes to be given away! 
Sat 915am - 1045am 
Sun 11am - 1230pm

5 & 6 Years Old - 6 passes to be given away! 
Sat 11am - 1230pm
Sat 3.30pm - 5pm

7 & 8 Years Old - 6 passes to be given away! 
Sat 11am - 1230pm
Sat 3.30pm - 5pm

You Station
170 Upper Bukit Timah Road
Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, #03-73K / 74K, 
Singapore 588179
Disclaimer: Dumpling attended as a paid participant for her camp in June. I am not compensated for this post though You Station has kindly extended these trial classes for you readers at Beanie N Us! 

About Celestine and Michelle, founders of YOU Station

CELESTINE LOW is an established writer for the Media industry. Her portfolio includes advertisement projects that won international acclaim. Celestine held numerous core production roles for multiple prime-time Chinese programmes such as Star Awards, Star Search and Who Wants to be a Millionaire etc. She was also the Head of Marketing for, subsidiary of MediaCorp, which was one of the first Chinese websites in Singapore. With three young children aged 10, 7 and 4, Celestine brings with her acute understanding of what young children need and her wealth of knowledge in performance within the entertainment industry.

MICHELLE CHIA is a well known, accomplished and effectively bilingual TV host and actress in the media industry.  Discovered at the age of 6, Michelle established herself as a recognised modern and talented artiste over 30 years in the industry with many popular programs and awards under her sleeves. Besides the media industry, Michelle is also an entrepreneur and an active citizen. She recently received the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award, and will represent Singapore in the TOYP World award in Brazil 2013.

If you have enjoyed this post, please follow me on my Facebook Page where I share my parenting thoughts, food photos (be prepared for tons of them!), early shout outs for giveaways and interact with you, my readers! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Instagram


  1. Speaking Mandarin to my children as often as I can. I find it works for my older child who declared in the past that he is an English too!

    My son is 5+yo

  2. Thanks for a chance to win! My daughter is 5.

  3. I like the idea tour is conducted in mandarin! Jay is 4yo.

  4. Let them spend more time with Chinese-speaking grandparents. My son is 5.

  5. While playing games with my child, I will speak in Mandarin with her. As she is having fun playing, she is absorbing all the chinese phrases and words that I use. In this way, she will not find it a chore to speak Mandarin.

    My daughter is 7 years old.


  6. My twins R four. Learning mandarin is best is when they r exposed when they are playing

  7. Speaking to them in Mandarin is a good way.

  8. I tried to fix at least a specified slot in a day e.g. while bathing my kids or meal time to communicate with them in Mandarin. I have to admit that it is difficult to speak to them in Mandarin the whole so the slot in a day works for us for now.

  9. Read chinese storybooks aloud and to converse with confidence! Gal at 5years old. Fiona chan

  10. Carol Khoh ( 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    My approach in teaching my kiddos Chinese is through bian(1)旁部首. Eg why words has 口字旁 etc. This way they will find that Chinese characters are fun to learn, just like drawing. And they are more willing to ask questions abt how they are form =)

    My kids are 5yo (K1) and 7yo (P1) next year.

  11. My son speaks mandarin to his grandmas. I also try to include chinese storybooks into our daily bedtime stories routine. The playbased curriculum offered by You Station will complement our chinese learning.

    My son is 5yrs old.

    Judy Foo

  12. We started my elder child in comics recently, comics in Chinese characters. Hopefully it will bring her to another level of interest. For all this while, we have been conversing in mandarin at home. But I realised that, Chinese is not a easy language, creating an environment at home doesn't build the love for the language, especially in this big environment.

    1. Ops, sorry! My children are 3.5yo and 8yo currently.

  13. Speak more and reading his favourite story books!

    My son is 4years old. Diana

  14. We try to speak more Chinese to her when we can. My girl is 5.

  15. Child : age 5
    I have started only mandarin speaking environment at home to encourage the interest in our mother tongue - Chinese.
    We also sing and attending Chinese related culture activities also brings interest to learn more.
    Hope to win a trial class !
    Sylvia Tan

  16. My fatty need to learn to speak Mandarin! I read to her with chinese books. She is turning 4 years old. =P

  17. read to them chinese stories, sing chinese songs and play interesting games by conversing in chinese.

    Child's age: 4

  18. Reading Chinese story books daily as part of bedtime reading and consistently having nor parent speak Mandarin with the child helps. My boy is 4.5 yrs old., Carol Lim

  19. Watch cartoons in mandarin like doramon. My gal is 4 yrs old . Email:

  20. We watch tv programme and shows in mandarin. My son Kyle is 4 years old.

  21. We try to read more chinese books with the kids. My sons are 6 and 9

  22. Thanks for hosting it !
    I let my kids spend more time with my mum whom they absolutely adores & they automatically speak Mandarin. Aside from that, watching Chinese DVDs with accompanied story books in Chinese also helps lots.

    My kids are 4 and 6yo.

    Shirley Yong

  23. Play simple games like twister (hand, legs coordination on a drawn mat), and act silly with them all by conversing in Mandarin. My daughters are 4 and 6 next year.
    Ker Min

  24. Read interesting Chinese stories and play games or craft activities based on Chinese theme like festivals. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Child: 5yo


  25. our library are well-stocked with many wonderful Chinese stories! AND of course, they are well-used, and not just 'for show'. :)
    thank you for hosting!
    my daughter turns 4 next year (March).


  26. Since young, I speak mandrain to my kids. Going to the library once every fortnight, my kids can borrow 2 mandrain books to read. Therefore my kids are fluent in english and mandrain.
    My kids are 6, 5 and 2.5 yrs.
    Hope I can win a trial for my kids.

  27. Thanks for this interesting giveaway.

    My son is 4 and attends a full mandarin kindergarten. This has certainly helped him not to say ''Yuck!'' to Mandarin. I also look for interesting Mandarin programmes like holiday camps, speech and drama classes, enrichment classes to send him to so that he relates fun with Mandarin.

    Hope to win this giveaway as I am always looking for good programmes in Mandarin for him to enjoy.


    Audrey (

  28. We started with Chinese Nursery Songs abd started to make a point to converse in Mandarin !

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway !

  29. I read their favourite Chinese stories to them before they go to sleep. they don't get bored by the same stories at all!

    my boy is 4 yr old.

    Robert Sim,

  30. My 5 year old attends a kindy where the main medium of communication is mandarin. Most of her classes are conducted in mandarin. It's helped boost her confidence in mandarin tremendously. She brings her mandarin readers home and I get her to read them to her little sister, simulating a lesson. She loves playing teacher and little sister gets to learn as well. Win-win!!

    Would love to win a pass please! Poppy is 5 years old :)

    Adora Tan,

    Thanks for hosing this giveaway!

  31. Thanks for the hosting!
    We read Chinese storybooks to her since young and we converse in Mandarin with her.
    She would be 5 next year.

    Lilium Day

  32. Thanks for organizing this. It certainly look very interesting, I think speaking in Mandarin at home helps a lot as it becomes natural for them to speak in Mandarin over time and the interest just flows in. On top of that, when I teach my girl something in English, for eg "horse", I teach or ask her what is horse in Chinese. That helped her to differentiate between the two languages too. She is 4 years old this year.


  33. Thanks for spreading the art of Chinese :)

    One of our 'baits' to grow our 5yrs old boy's appetite for Chinese literacy is through introducing appropriate Chinese Apps :) He has then hooked on 四五快读 iPad app and picked up the right strokes for chinese characters.

    May lucky charm bless us :)

    Esther (

  34. we dont speak or read chinese at home as my dear son's parent ie me n hubs doesnt read son is 4 plus now..but he is immersed in chinese in his full day child care and and 1 hour plus of enrichment of speech and drama and 1 hours plus of Berries. we hope to further cultivate his interest in chinese and he will be our tour guide when we go to HK, China and Taiwan next time!

  35. one tip which you can share on encouraging an interest in the Chinese language with your children is reading poems to my 6 year old daughter and 4 year old daughter :>

  36. Use the language as often as possible, either by reading, writing, speaking or listening. I'm still trying to make my 7YO feels more comfortable with writing Chinese characters. jennlimbh(at)gmail(dot)com

  37. I recently bought a DVD set of 喜羊羊与灰太狼 just to see if he would like it. Heard so much fuss about it so I wanted to give it a try. Turns out to be an accidental hit with my 5yo kid. It also helps that my kid loves music so listening to some chinese music (sometimes on loop. URGH) made the learning process less like a chore now.

    My nephew on the other hand is the classic "I am an English boy". We are at a loss at how best to pique his interest in the chinese language. I think the trial class will be most useful for him and I would like to bring him to the class instead. Can? He is 6yo.

  38. My girls were piqued by chinese cartoons, it sounds bad compared to the 'reading and books' kinda approach but it made them more receptive towards the language. And now they will start asking for chinese stories too.

    My girl is 5 years old.

    Lynn Soh

  39. My daughter is 5 years old and we cultivate her interest through books, story telling sessions, song and dance. She loves singing and dancing to 儿童歌。

  40. My girl is 5 years old. She only start learning Chinese this year during her K1. By giving her a Chinese environment. We start to speak Chinese at home

  41. How I encourage interest in chinese at home? I don't even know the language myself. So what could I do? That was the same question I ask myself. I thought I could not do it. But I DID IT. Learn it together with my boy, ask him for suggestion on how i can remember better. Create stories from the pictogram together. Create silly songs for stroke sequence when doing writing. Model the FUN element in in it. Practise and repeat openly myself and the boy will follow suite or at least keep his ears open. Be honest, tell the child about my weakness and ask him to help by listening more carefully in school. Be humble and accept the correction of a preschooler when he share his school experiences with me. With these, my boy whom hated the language is accepting and learning it! Keep each formal learning session short between things he loves to do. Cheer for ourselves on every small progress. We may be slow but we are getting there. =).

    1. My boy is going to be 5 year old in January.

  42. Are the results for this giveaway out? I don't recall seeing the results being posted here or FB.

    1. Hi Carol

      Thank you for reaching out. As mentioned on the FB page, the winners have been picked but I am waiting for the sponsor to advise on when the announcement would be as they wanted to do it after CNY.

      Please be assured that for all giveaways, the results will be shared and winners will also be notified via email.

      Thank you


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Be warned: All content in this blog is copyright protected. Registered & Protected