By Mandi Gould
How much research have you done into your child’s preschool?
When choosing the best preschool in Toronto, there are a lot of factors to consider. How close is it to your home? Will your child love the teachers? Are they learning valuable skills that they can apply later in their lives?
Whether you have Chinese heritage or not, many experts agree that the most advantageous language for children to learn is Mandarin. It’s the second most-spoken language in the world and one of the two primary languages of the economic powerhouse that is China. By enrolling your child in a Mandarin preschool program, you’ll be giving them a leg up on their peers. You might even potentially strengthen the bonds between generations in Chinese families. These benefits are precisely what we offer in our Panda Banana Mandarin preschool program!
So, what should you be looking for when trying to find the best preschool in Toronto?
Choosing the Best Preschool in Toronto: Understanding its Purpose
There are many academic reasons for sending your child to preschool. Preschool fosters learning skills, curiosity, and creativity in kids and gives them a headstart in many academic areas. Learning shapes, numbers, colours, and communication skills should all be important parts of all the best preschool programs in Toronto.
However, there is an even more important reason for preschool: socialization.
At preschool, children start to learn how to interact with other kids and adults who aren’t familiar family members or babysitters. Most importantly, it allows them to do this away from their primary caregiver.
Entrusting a child to a preschool isn’t easy at first and can cause high levels of anxiety in both parents and children. That’s why you want to be sure you’re sending your child to a preschool that has a stellar history of caring for and nurturing children. By enrolling your child in a Mandarin preschool program, you’ll be laying a foundation that will prepare them to step into the more academic and structured environment of Kindergarten in a year or two.
Best Preschool in Toronto Considerations: Language
As a parent, you want to give your child the best possible start in life. Learning a second language can create opportunities in the future, while also strengthening a child’s connection to their culture and heritage. Research suggests that our capacity to learn a language diminishes gradually over our lives. That's why the best time for a Mandarin immersion program for kids is before the age of 7.
When you choose a Mandarin immersion preschool program, it will help to cement language skills in your child’s mind from a young age, when it’s easiest for them to learn. Remember, as soon as they enter into Kindergarten, they’re going to be immersed in English for the vast majority of the day. All of their friends will be speaking English, not giving them an opportunity to practice their Mandarin. But if they have already learned the foundations of Mandarin in preschool, they will gain an ingrained understanding of the language while they are ripe to absorb it.
Our Panda Bananas program is the perfect program for children ripe to learn Mandarin. Each class is a blend of music, games, and interactive activities, engaging little ones on a number of levels to learn Mandarin.
Best Preschool in Toronto Considerations: Class Size
One of the biggest problems with the education system is class size. Due to budget cuts and rising costs, children are packed like sardines into Toronto-based classrooms. It doesn’t matter how gifted or dedicated a teacher is; they can’t possibly be effective when teaching 35 kids with only one instructor.
That's not the case at Panda Mandarin. Maintaining a small class size is a necessity when it comes to learning a new language. And it’s especially important in a situation with small children under the age of five who could easily become overwhelmed in a large group of kids. That’s why we keep all of our class sizes to a maximum of 10 children. This way, every child will always get the full support of our highly-qualified teaching staff.
The Best Preschool in Toronto Should be Fun!
The best way for children to learn is to feel engaged and stimulated. The quickest way to do that is to ensure that learning is fun!
That’s why our Panda Bananas Mandarin Preschool Program is designed to be fun and stimulating. We foster a super-interactive environment which encourages your kids to interact and speak Mandarin non-stop for their entire class. We use storytelling, arts and crafts, games, music, and many other methods to keep your child engaged in learning the language and wanting to learn more. That’s why we are considered one of, if not the best Mandarin programs for kids in Toronto!
We also welcome parents to the proceedings! If you have been thinking about picking up some Mandarin or if you need a refresher, you can learn it right alongside your little ones by participating in the activities. Don’t be shy and come join in!
Best Preschool in Toronto Considerations: Location
Let’s face it; the GTA is a BIG place. Just because a preschool says it’s in Toronto doesn’t mean it’s going to be anywhere remotely near where you live or work. And the last thing you want to do is send your kids to a preschool program in Toronto near High Park or the Junction when you live in the east end near the Danforth, Leslieville, or the Beaches.
No problem! At Panda Mandarin, we offer several different locations all around the city. Some of them focus on after school and preschool programs, others on our weekend programs. Depending on where in the city you live, we can likely connect you with a location that’s conveniently located near your work or home.
Mandarin Immersion for Kids: Panda Bananas
We have years of experience working and teaching Mandarin to kids of all ages. We’ve found that the optimal class length for preschoolers is 45-minutes, with an extended 2.5-hour class for children or parents who wish for additional exposure to the Mandarin language.
Our weekly themes keep the preschool classes fresh every session, and parents and caregivers are welcome to participate and learn with their little ones. Children under the age of 4 must be accompanied by a parent/caregiver in the classroom, or on the premises.
Being enrolled in a Mandarin program for kids is one of the best things you can do for your child, especially when they’re preschool age. You will be giving them a headstart socially, teaching them an incredibly valuable communication skills, and allowing them to explore the world in a safe and engaging environment. You’ll also be connecting with Chinese culture and heritage in a warm and welcoming community, which will be rich and rewarding for you as a parent too! These are all reasons why we believe that Panda Mandarin is one of the best preschools in Toronto!