Brought Yifan to Gymboree

After talking about it for weeks, Wendy and I finally brought Yifan to Gymboree, the early-education center. Yifan and Wendy went there for once before, and this is the first time I am with them.

Yifan didn’t show particular interest in the group activity. He enjoys playing with the slopes, and stairs by himself.

English Education?

Something I observed is, they are mainly using English as the instruction language – the songs, the introduction and almost everything. I don’t feel very comfortable in an environment where everyone is Chinese, and they use English to educate my kid at the very beginning. What is the point to do it when the kids don’t know any language yet. It is OK, but I don’t think it is an advantage for a training center to use English to teach than others.

English is important. But to experience so many parents play and dancing with their child and singing everything in English just seems strange to me.

The cost for a 12 classes package is 2880 RMB, pretty expensive.

We finally decided to give Yifan more free fresh air in parks, and our time, instead of sending him there.

8 Comments

  1. Good for you! I think you made the right choice!

  2. I absolutely agree with your choice! I think early education should be with the nature. Don’t put children into the artificial social cycle too early, don’t deprive their rights to learn from the nature. We have too many years to live with social cycle but no other choice to touch the soil with our pure heart.

    My son is just 12 days younger than Yi Fan, I have the same situation with you. Thanks for your information about Gymboree.

    I think you may be interested in this article: http://chinese.wsj.com/gb/20080416/PHO135041.asp

  3. Good decision, indeed! There will be other young children at the parks and play areas when you take him, and he will easily learn to “socialize”, with you right there for security if he needs it. One of my favorite memories of our oldest son is from a park we went to when he was very young. He went to get a drink from a water fountain and arrived at the fountain at the same time as another little girl. I have no idea where he learned or how he thought to do this, but he very politely stepped aside to let her drink first, and even held the handle down for her. It was a precious moment, and one I would not have been able to enjoy in my mind all these many years later if he had been in a group care situation instead of with me.

    :-)

  4. cute bb congratulations!

  5. you made a right decission for your kid ! my advise on teaching a child a language

    is that any learner has a chance to be in environment offering english-speaking,

    i mean, native speaker. those people working for education institute, however,

    some are good english users because of their long stay in western society, now making

    fun with children, and the others are not quailtified for standards of teaching, their

    goal is making money for themselves and do nothing more.

  6. Its always good to adapt to the nature and interests of the child, so sounds like you made the right decision for Yifan.

    Having said that, I wonder why it felt strange to go to an English immersion program for young children. I would love to have a Chinese immersion program for my 2 year old kid since our home language is not Chinese. Many people who are not fluent in Chinese (and many are Americans with no Chinese heritage) are seeking that for their children here in the Bay Area.

  7. I’ve joined this thread somewhat late, but your observation that Gymboree staff use the English language preferentially is not surprising to me. They are, after all, an American company. However, I do believe that children absorb languages early, before they can actually speak. We have a 4-month-old and would prefer her to be at least bilingual; so my wife is speaking to her in Mandarin and I’m using English (and when her grandparents come, she’ll get to listen to Shanghainese too).

  8. By the way, I enjoy reading your blog.

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