Chinese Language Classes & Camps
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Chinese language summer camp or other program?
We're new to the Bay Area and I don't see many archive recommendations for Chinese language programs in the area. Can anyone recommend a good summer camp for a six-year-old with no previous exposure to the language, or offer advice on sources for year-round instruction? (We live in Oakland and would be very interested in joining a small-group tutoring program, if anyone knows of such a thing.) I'm hesitant to enroll her in a weekly Chinese school, since I attended one weekly for 10 years and unfortunately didn't get a lot out of it.
Hi, I want to recommend Shu Ren International School in Berkeley for Mandarin-immersion summer camp. My kids attend school there during the year, but they offer summer camp independent of their school-year program and they have both preschool and elementary programs. The summer program attracts a lot of non-Shu Ren students, so I don't think being new to the school would be difficult socially. My kids knew little to no Mandarin before they started and caught on very quickly. I also think very highly of the full-immersion model (much more effective than a bilingual program, and kids learn SO fast). If this summer is like summers past, they offer 5 two-week sessions for elementary (or 10 one-week sessions for preschool) full day with aftercare a little extra. They do not have any school-year after-school or Saturday programs, just summer and/or regular school. And it's very active learning-disguised-as-play and field trips, no formal classroom or boring, rote memorization drills here! Best wishes in your search. Happy Mom
Yu Ying Learning Center in Alameda has all of the above -- after school program (mainly serves Alameda), summer camps, and weekend classes.
Learning Mandarin Chinese
I love languages and am beginning to learn Mandarin Chinese from an online program through the library. I have learned a little basic vocabulary but I think I need some in-person practice to get it firmly in my brain. I did some web searching and didn't find many resources for adults to learn Chinese in the Bay Area. Can you recommend something, or do you have ideas about a good way to get some practice? It doesn't have to be a class. I have 2 young kids, so free time and money are in short supply. I live in East Oakland. Xiexie!
Four ideas for Mandarin practice, based on my own experience. 1. Meetup.com has an East Bay Chinese group that meets in South Berkeley. I used to go with my baby. 2. The Oakland Public Library Asian branch in Chinatown has a kid's program in Mandarin Saturday mornings. Parents participate too and it's good for beginner level Chinese learners. 3. It isn't too hard to get a Mandarin exchange partner on Craigslist if you post or check the activity partner posts. 4. I've been told that many Chinese-speaking families hang out at the park in Albany village every day. I know it's a bit far from you, but that way you can bring the kids. You might check small parks in any Chinese-populated area near you and probably find the same thing. Eliza
A couple of ideas. You could try to find a conversation partner who's a native speaker. You practice your Mandarin, they practice their English. I did this about 10 years ago through Cal's English program for international students. You might check with English language schools in the area or universities. You could also try craigslist. There are also a number of meetups for Mandarin speakers in the bay area. Look on meetup.com. Of course nothing beats actually being in China, but I know that's tough when you have a family. Man man lai ba! fellow Mandarin speaker
This may or may not be a practical solution for you, but it would be an effective one: taking Mandarin at Mills College (also in East Oakland). The director of the Chinese program at Mills is Chiuhung Chen. She runs one of the most effective language-learning programs I've ever seen in operation. Her pedagogical methods are rich, fun, and evidence-based. Many of her students have conversation partners in China - just one of many resources she finds for them. Mills is great for Moms, too. A safe, friendly campus. Not just students, but staff and faculty take Chinese at Mills. wo ai wo de zhongwen lao shi
Hello, I am interested in enrolling my daughter at East Bay Chinese School. It's website states it was established in 1981 but I don't see any reviews on BPN. Any reviews or experiences would be most appreciated, thank you! Judy
My son was a student at East Bay Chinese School for four years. Looking back, his first year teacher was fine. The second year teacher was not a good fit for my son, who was transferred to another teacher mid-year. The following two teachers were good.
The biggest problem he had was some of his classmates were always misbehaving and distracting the lessons. Teachers were having problem controlling such behavior. Parents must volunteer a certain hours each year or they pay more if they do not volunteer. Some of those parents do not speak English, which sometimes made them seem rude.
My son had a lot of homework each week and that took his time away from his regular school work. I would say he learned some Mandarin at EBCS, but nothing to write home about! My son is learning Mandarin online now and he is much happier. Former EBCS mom
Hi everyone: I'm new to the neighborhood and am seeking suggestions for independent high school study for Chinese mandarin. My son is enrolled as a 9th grader at Maybeck High and they don't offer Chinese. I've already contacted Tilden Prep, and Berkeley high independent study. Does anyone have other suggestions? I'd consider a private tutor but am not sure how to receive high school credit going that route. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks Elaine
Mentoring Academy on College near Rockridge BART offers Mandarin I and II employing the Middlebury Language program and a tutor. Courses are approved. johnmuster [at] mentoringacademy.org
My daughter has been taking mandarin lessons on Saturdays for about 2 years. We try practice the language at home, but she tends to respond to me in English. I am looking for a mandarin immerson summer camp in the east bay where she can practice conversational mandarin with other children. Does anyone have experience with the Hip Wah Summer Camp, and the Shu Ren Summer Camp? Mom of a 6-year old
You may try Ya Ya Chinese School (https://sites.google.com/site/yayachineseschool/). My 6-yr old daughter, with some language experience and have been there for almost 2 weeks and she really enjoy the loving, relaxing enviroment in Ya Ya. Ms. He the lead teacher is experienced and kept kids at all age well entertained and enthusiastic to learn the language through songs, games, and some gong-fu. And delicious lunch is provided as well. Check out more info on their website and their summer camp is still open for enrollment. Hongli
The Hip Wah summer program provides a wonderful camp experience including Chinese culture, arts, music, and Mandarin language instruction. It is NOT immersion, and the level of instruction is fairly low (they assume no prior Mandarin knowledge). Registration takes place in February and many classes fill quickly. This year's program has already started. Another program to consider is New Sprouts in Oakland. I don't know anything about Shu Ren. Elizabeth
Hi: Regarding the Mandarin immersion camp inquiry... This may not be in time for the current summer, but I wanted to post a message for parents to keep in mind perhaps for next year re: summer camp recommendations. We sent our son to Shu Ren 's Mandarin Immersion camp last summer (for many weeks) and can recommend the teachers and staff there as great (smart, patient and hands-on). We had other plans for most weeks this summer but I imagine that the camp is just as good as the summer before. Parent
I'm looking for a Chinese language class for young kids. A class after school or on the weekend. I know kids pick up languages easily when they are young and want to take advantage of this opportunity. I am looking for a class in Oakland or south Berkeley. Thanks
My 7 year old has taken a lively and fun Mandarin class with Po-Wen Chen on Monday afternoons at the Albany Community Center on Marin Avenue for the past three years. Po-Wen is a wonderful, warm, committed teacher. The kids learn songs, basic vocabulary and characters, and play lots of games. Po-Wen has classes for kids ranging in age from 1 - 7. She has a masters degree in child development and really knows how to reach her students. Alison
I have been pleased with the program offered by CCEA New Sprouts in Oakland.
My preschooler attends the Saturday morning Mandarin class near Lake Merritt. Fall 2010 enrollment has just started for the session starting in September. There are also classes for elementary school age children.
I've found it to be a great way to expose my little one to the language (she started when she was 2). They also have a parent-and-tot (starting at 18 months) class on Friday mornings. For the younger kids, it's very much play- based, and they also provide you with access to an online resource, so parent and child can practice during the week.
The website is: http://www.cceanewsprouts.org/ esther
Shu Ren International School offers after school Mandarin classes at their campus in Berkeley. They also have additional cultural enrichment classes such as martial arts and Chinese music. More information is on their website: http://www.shureninternationalschool.com/ shu ren mom
Hi- I'm hoping to find a great Mandarin language summer program for my son, who is five. We'll be back in the Bay Area for a month (as we've moved away!), so I'm hoping to find something that runs 3-5 days a week, 1-3 hours a day, for weekly or monthly sessions. Any chance you know of one? former berkeley mama
Shu Ren International School in Berkeley offers a Mandarin summer camp in two-week sessions throughout the summer. Our son is in school there and attended the camp last summer and had a lot of fun. The teachers are great and the kids learn a lot of Chinese. Registration forms are available now at: http://www.shureninternationalschool.com/programs/summer-camp/
shu ren mom
A long time ago I took a couple of years of Mandarin and still retain a little bit of the spoken language, but very little of the writing. I would love a class that would refresh my basic knowledge and perhaps do some writing and character recognition. Are there any evening or weekend classes like that for adults in the East Bay? Linda
UC Berkeley Extension has a whole language department. They have classes in Arabic, Chinese, French, Greek, Japanese and Spanish. http://extension.berkeley.edu/languages/ Languages fan
Try UCB Extensions. My friend took their night classes a few years ago and liked the teacher. Because she wasn't a native speaker (not to say she doesn't pronounce Chinese well), she was really good at teaching to the beginners as she understands where they're coming from. UCB staff/faculty used to get discounts at Extension. anon
Hi. Does anyone know of a summer camp that provides decent language study in Chinese or French? We prefer those abroad immersion camps. Please let me know if you have any information. thanks k
Hi I came across your posting. I happened to take my son and his friend to China last summer 2007 for a Chinese immersion program through Sino Language Gateway. Both of them do not know any Chinese language. The program lasted about 3 weeks. The kids learned the Chinese language, and culture. At the end of the session, we travelled to Inner Mongolia for about 4 days. I didnmt expect my sonms language capability to improve dramatically but what I found was the boys are much more willing to speak the language. The program itself is really well-organized and safe. You can check their website, it is www.sinolanguage.com .
I'm looking for information on Chinese language learning, both summer camps and after school or weekend, for my 5 year old daughter who's currently in kindergarten. Does anyone have new info.? Pauline
Keystone Chinese School is held on Saturdays from 9:30 to 12:00. It located in Albany and good for kids from age 4.5 to 16. For details, please visit their web-site at http://www.keystonechinese.org
My children, age 10 & 11, have been studying Mandarin Chinese at home for the past three years. Their tutor has done wonders, but an immersion program would really help their conversation skills. Is there any East Bay school or camp or playgroup or meeting that specializes in Mandarin as a second language? Heck - a Chinese speaking basketball team! Mainly, we want a meeting for a few hours a week where they had to use Mandarin socially. Also - any suggestions on visiting China/HK/Taiwan specifically to help their language skills? Cliff
It's not hard to find immersion in any of the major cultures of the SF Bay Area. One just has to have an open mind and a good attitude. In the case of Mandarin Chinese, the easiest immersion is in the Mandarin speaking Christian (invariably fundamentalist Protestant) churches. There are many in the East Bay, and most have active childcare and children's programs. Several also offer a free homestyle Chinese lunches after their Sunday services. Some are bilingual or trilingual. As long as you can tolerate a bit of religious instruction, the Chinese churches are a very good bet.
My 12-year-old son will be going to Beijing in 2 summers. He will be studying the language during this time, but I would like to get him started. He has taken a bit of Japanese during an after-school program, but otherwise has no exposure to any Asian languages. Do you have any suggestions on how best to proceed? Matt
My daughter's Mandarin teacher just sent me this email (below) last week. We've really enjoyed taking classes at the Albany Community Center.
Do you know any child who is going to be in 3rd through 6th or 7th grade this September and wants to learn Chinese? Annie Wei, my mentor, will teach an upper grade beginning Chinese class at Albany Community Center at 10:15 am in the Art Room. (If she can have minimum of 6 children sign up for her class.) Annie has more than 20 years of experiences of teaching children Mandarin both in the US and Taiwan. She taught in East Bay Chinese School for more than 10 years. Couple years ago, after she retired from the East Bay Chinese School she started teaching in Alameda Community Center (mostly FCC families) and one of the Piedmont Elementary schools. Please pass the words to your friends and hopefully we can have this class starts on 9/6 too. Feel free to contact me for any question or concern. Hope to see you all in September.
Phoebe Chen (925) 283-8866 phoebechen at comcast.net
Hi, Matt, About learning Chinese (Mandarin), any good suggestions will depend on the learner's ability and interests. I taught Mandarin to Japanese adults and children for six years. In my teaching experience, it is key to emphasize Mandarin pronunciaton for children because children have an ear for pronunciation, whereas the older the adult, no matter how you teach they are set in their pronunciation. The other point is that for children, a small amount of time every day is good for studying (adults might do fine with twice a week for longer times, but not so with children.) Good luck to your son! junallison
Can anyone recommend a chinese school summer program for a 5 year old? Thank you!
The Berkeley Chinese School (located in Albany) has a summer camp, as well as a preschool and after school program during the school year. The phone number is 510-525-9666. Elisa
I have seen the Chinese Summer Camp on the newspaper couple of weeks ago. The school is called Berkeley Chinese School, I think. It starts from preschool, Kindergarden and etc. I was planning to send my daugther, but she is too young for it. The number is 510-525-9666. mun33
Hi! Friends of ours from Boston have been looking for a Chinese (Mandarin)-language summer camp in the Bay Area or elsewhere for their two kids, 9 and 6. They already speak Mandarin in the home with their mother, so they would be looking for something a little more advanced than beginners' courses. They are also interested in an environment that stresses not only academics, but arts and athletics/recreation. Thanks for any leads! Linda
There is some info at this website: http://www.newconcept.com Annie
I have heard of a summer camp conducted by the Pacific Rim Academy in Emeryville. They are a bilingual (Mandarin/Japanese English Montessori School, ages preschool through elementary). Patricia