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Hello Markham!

Discussion in 'East Coast' started by Calvin W, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Well... I'm from the GTA... and of course, for those who are the early generation of immigrant Chinese people to Toronto, most of us speak Cantonese (most from HK or Canton). A lot has changed since China has relaxed travelling abroad.

    In terms of Cantonese materials and education, there is plenty that we take our kids to, but one of the better option is to goto YIP's Chinese Montessori school. The one in the Main Campus over at 14th Ave & Warden is very Cantonese based.
    They also have Saturday school available as well.
    Other option is to go to Saturday school at York Region Catholic District School Board - International Languages. For about $30 for the entire school term on the Saturday weekend for 2.5 hours - it's cheap!

    Anyways, if you need help, drop me a line.
  2. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Calvin, thanks for your great advice re Chinese schools! I just wonder, other than formal Chinese classes, how much do you immerse your kids with Cantonese in daily life? For example, do you speak Cantonese with your kids all the time and do you read Chinese books with them? I am desperately looking for Hong Kong parents who are doing this. But I still haven't found any. All Hong Kong parents I know here are mixing English and Chinese, and from both linguistic and parenting perspective, this is not good.
  3. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    I do speak Cantonese almost all the time -- I was also raised here; so my Cantonese is limited, but I use Google Translate and https://www.mdbg.net/chindict/chindict.php which can pronounce things in Cantonese. I also reinforce them to respond to me in Cantonese. I don't mix in English unless it's like "CN 塔" or something that is like a landmark/event... another one is CNE... which the kids want to goto. Even if I don't know what the word is, I'll look it up. Do I read Chinese books to them? I don't - I can't read as well; but my wife does.
    I do let them watch Cantonese cartoons - Peppa Pig and some others which are simple for them.

    Our group of friends also speak Cantonese, so it helps too. :D
  4. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hey Calvin, I think you are doing an ABSOLUTELY great job! What you are doing make perfect sense to me - saying things in English only when their names sounds natural/official only in English. And I also agree that it's worth to look things up if you don't know how to say certain words in Chinese. This is also what I am doing. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so my Chinese is still way better than English, but I am also used to code-mixing like many other Hong Kong people, so for my son and myself I am now training myself not to code-mix.

    I am glad to hear that we have the same determination! It's really great to meet you Calvin! How old are your kids if I may ask? My son is 2 yrs 4 mths and he also enjoys Peppa Pig in Cantonese!!!!! :)
  5. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    It's certainly hard; but yes, for someone who is JOOK SING I wanted to get to my roots..... having the school speak primarily in Cantonese does help. My son is almost 6.. and believe me, he's picking up a lot of english... but he knows a lot of chinese too as a result of our constant - Chinese only at home policy. He'll learn english fine here, but chinese will certainly be more difficult - there just isn't enough exposure.

    Our friends. speak both english/cantonese.... the school ones speak mainly cantonese, so it's actually a good group.
    If your not far from Markham, you should try Yips - the one at the main campus at Crown Steele ... the place itself is not too small/not too big (better than some places I've seen, and certainly worse than some others)... the teachers are good; and the program isn't bad either... the best part of it is actually the performances.
  6. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Thanks for your recommendations re schools. My boy is speaking more English than Cantonese now already because his dad is white Canadian, let alone daycare and the community at large. That's why I am trying my utmost to maximize his exposure to Chinese. I totally agree with you that kids will pick up English easily here and the Chinese at home only policy is really smart. I don't understand why there are still so many Hong Kong parents still worrying about their kids' development of English proficiency and chose not to use "too much" Chinese to them. I have a friend whose boy is 5 too. Even though the parents speak Cantonese mainly (but code-mixing), the boy is no longer willing to speak Cantonese anymore.

    Since recently we are having gatherings regularly to immerse our boys with fun activities that would allow "captive learning" of Cantonese. Let's see.
  7. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    The HK parents came here knowing too much Chinese, so they want their kids to learn it.... us on the other hand, know too much English... and so we want our kids to learn Chinese. :D I think there needs to be a balance... but the reality is, there isn't enough Chinese regularly so we make sure there is. The world has a 15% Chinese population... and while Cantonese may not be 100% of that, it's the roots, popular and still Chinese. :D We do try to teach Mandarin too.

    Ah... daycare... yes... we were contemplating about that. Since the kids spend most of their time away from us, we wanted to have them goto a Chinese school. I'm in Markham, so there's a few to select from - though someone else referred us to Yips (their son was there) and it has been good. Our younger son is still there - will continue going there until graduation. Its expensive to put kids in Montessori (though Yips was average price) but we liked the program. Here's one of the performances that they've done - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7josRYXwt5M ; but that's just the choir; there's usually a few concerts; a few 朗誦 and some other events.. here's one from our friends (whom we met at the school)

    Where about's are you? N.York/Scarborough/Downtown/Markham?
  8. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Calvin, I am living on the Yonge St Part of North York so it's more Korean/ Mainstream rather than Chinese (unlike Markham). Daddy and all my in-laws are English, daycare is English and community is English, so the exposure to my son is around 25% only. I was born and raised in Hong Kong and also came to Canada knowing too much "Chinese", but I also knew (as a linguistics graduate) very early that kids pick up the community language quickly, and Chinese is a damn difficult language that has to be taught when kids are really really young. So I started speaking Cantonese to him exclusively when he was still in my womb already :D

    It's funny. All my Hong Kong friends thought I would just be raising my boy in English because I am living in Canada in an inter-racial marriage. As I visited Hong Kong in March, they asked if I would speak at least a little bit of Chinese to him and were totally surprised when I told them that I don't actually speak any bit of English to him :rolleyes:

    I used to be living on Warden and Steeles and would have been very close to Yips. But for now it's not a choice anymore :confused: It's not only about the distance but also the preference of my white-Canadian husband. He totally supports my decision to raise our boy bilingually, but he trusts mainstream English speaking daycare/ early learning places more. The performances you shared look great and I am very happy for your sons!
  9. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Hey Flo... Good for you, but oh well.. :D I guess you'll have a harder challenge... I already have a challenge as it is and I'm in a 'more' Chinese area. I'm from Canton - but grew up English and so my Mandarin is very poor. I'm trying to get him to learn both and at one point he was resisting Mandarin... but one thing I found helps a lot is singing. Youtube: "TF Boys" and some of the songs are pretty good. :D and he liked it... so he started get more involved.
    Lucky you had a chance to take your son to HK. The expense is prohibiting us from going - though I need him to go and see the world and realize he's only 1 of the many many many people out there that speaks Chinese vs in Toronto/GTA where it's used seldomly relative to HK. I do plan t take him there when he's older... say 8? I think he'll remember more then too.
    How are your friends? all english speaking?
  10. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Calvin, thank you for your recommendation of TF boys. My son loves music too and I hope this can also enthuse him. Among my friends here, the whites of course can speak only English to my son, but even the Chinese "naturally" speak English/ Chinglish/ mix code to my boy because they think they should be speaking English to a "gwaizai". I had to remind them that I am putting my utmost efforts to raise him in Chinese and had to beg them for help by not speaking English. Hong Kong people are serious code-mixers wherever they are. All Hong Kong parents I know here (except YOU & another friend) are code-mixing seriously but not even aware of it (let alone it's negative impact on their kids' language development). Although they are using a lot of English words in their parent-child conversations, they claim that they are also doing "Chinese only at home".

    I wish they'd know the best teachers of minority language are parents. If they could also be consistent, like you and me, the learning from Chinese class could be very much leveraged!!!!!

    So I'd like to give kudos to you and your wife for your awareness and efforts in doing REAL "Chinese only at home".

    Yes, it'd costly to travel to Hong Kong as a family of 4 huh? This is not something a regular family can do every year. We are only 3 so we plan to travel there once every 2-3 years. We really have to do so despite the cost because my husband has to land Hong Kong every 3 years to keep his permanent residency anyway.
  11. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Ah... if your son likes music - then if your not already doing so, play chinese in the car! :D
    We put on MP3's of Cantonese/Mandarin & Instrumental... not sure if your interested, I've attached one of the songs. Let me know if you want the rest of it.
    :D I'm consistent - but given that I'm a "jook-sing" it is very hard... thank goodness for Google and www.mdbg.net (for the pronunciations).
    Totally agree that at this age, language is best picked up by the parents... how else can they speak their first few words?
    Still lucky you.. at least a reason to go.. :D I do.... but it would only to see the relatives and they don't need to see me every 3 years. =D

    Attached Files:

  12. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing the files and dictionary! You are so nice! I try to play Cantonese nursery Rhymes at home as much as possible, but we usually play mainstream Canadian pop music in the car because daddy is white Canadian and PRIMARY DRIVER.

    Oh yes, for jooksings like you, raising kids in Chinese is much harder because most of them can't read Chinese or only very little! But believe me, your kids will thank you when they are grown up.

    BTW, I just wonder if you also know about and are interested in this event? I have registered already and hope I can make it. I am hoping not only to get more insights, but also to network with other Chinese parents. I believe the Chinese parents who would attend this event would have at least the determination (even if not yet the right approach)

  13. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    do you want the other songs? I'm ok.. :D I've become a family man. but most people would say I'm nice - though selfish in my own ways. :D
    Well... on the driving portion - I guess there should be some compromise... I don't personally like Classical/Mandarin or whatever sometimes, but I still listen to it. :D though I totally understand the challenge.... I personally like pop music too... BUT..... I give it up when I'm with the kids... sacrifices...

    yeah... I know... I had wished my parents actually forced more on me.. it's in hindsight.. so I need to make sure my kids are forced :D

    I didn't know about the event... but I'm a believer in early childhood learning and it's impact to later stages in life. So you don't need to sell me it. :D
    I have a packed weekend/weeknight with the kids every day... every day there's homework or some activity (swimming, etc.) so it's always busy. This weekend was the first Saturday school and believe me, it was fairly busy. We ended up putting him at YIPs saturday school versus the Catholic International Languages because we find it harder and the latter easier... need to cram more now than later.. :D
    And since I get like 3 hours off - it's worth every penny.

    If there are other events, let me know... :D I don't mind networking..
  14. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hi Calvin, I hope you had a great Christmas break! Things have been hectic at my end because my husband has got back issues lately, meaning that I have to take over even more child caring chores.

    I eventually didn't join the talk regarding multilingual parenting because my son's got ear infection. The poor boy at this age still cannot use words to clearly express his feelings. The only thing he can do is to cry and it can take a while until we understand what's in him and whether we should take him to doctor right away. But the day when he can express himself clearly will come. He is now speaking more and more complete sentences in Cantonese and I really think this is a reward to my perseverance and consistence!

    I'll surely let you know when there are interesting events again, or I have also actually been thinking if you/ your kids would be interested in playdates with my boy at some point :)
  15. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Ironically - when I read your first paragraph; I was like - omg... that was me when my wife was in labor... and even this year, I had a back/shoulder spasm which made me unable to turn my head or move my body well.... I finally got over it the last 2 days... (it lasted for 2 weeks).
    As with lately with xmas holiday's, it's been super busy, so I totally understand how much you need to do. :D

    :D sure, that sounds like fun. PM me and we can figure something out.
  16. TwoPrawns

    TwoPrawns New Member

    Thanks, already doing YRDSB but will take a peek at Montessori. Note that it's just $10 for reg and $10 for materials for YRDSB -- not sure if the curriculum is different than YRCDSB.
  17. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Yeah, I'm not sure if it's the same curriculum. It's about the same price... I recall it was about $20. We ended up moving him to Saturday school at Yip's instead just because they have both Cantonese in the morning and conversational Mandarin afterwards... which runs from 9:30 till 12:45 and give us time to do shopping etc.
  18. Calvin W

    Calvin W Member

    Looks like I'm the only one here again :-/ Oh well. :-D
  19. Flo Toronto

    Flo Toronto New Member

    Hey Calvin, I'm sorry that I hadn't been in touch for a while. No, you are not the only one here because I am still here but have just been too busy. Having this said, I also wonder why there are only 2 of us here :-(

    BTW, I've visited Hong Kong again for 2 weeks and just got back on Sunday. My son had a good time and also a good Cantonese immersion :)

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