Summer of challenges

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 July, 2012, 12:00am

The summer holidays are a great time for children to focus their energies on an activity to accelerate development and have a great time developing social skills by meeting new friends.

'Our summer Mandarin programme aims to give great opportunities for children to develop their interest in learning Mandarin when they have plenty of energy and time,' says Kate Zhou, director of Yifan Mandarin.

'This can give children confidence to pursue regular classes throughout the school year, and it will keep intellectual skills alert and challenged as a perfect complement to any physical activities they may do.'

The programme by Yifan Mandarin (, called Speak Mandarin This Summer, is for children aged 12 months to eight years. Classes cover Chinese chess, Chinese ink painting, eco-arts and crafts, origami, clay sculpture, storytelling, cooking and fashion design for dolls.

A learning-by-doing teaching approach aims to develop children's confidence in speaking Putonghua by acquiring practical everyday speaking skills they can immediately use outside the classroom.

A flexible approach enables children to choose classes that interest them the most. Classes run Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5.30pm in Central, Sheung Wan and Discovery Bay, and at partner clubs Bel-Air, Aberdeen Marina Club and the English-Speaking Members Department of the YMCA. Minimum packages of five, 90-minute classes cost HK$250. Discounts are available for larger packages.

A programme by Mandarin Town ( is suitable for children aged two to four years and four to six. Classes focus on Chinese arts and craft topics that include paper cutting, calligraphy, classical literature, musical instruments, opera and Chinese landmarks. Five-day courses are run weekly and involve five, 90-minute classes. Activities include singing, storytelling, artwork, games and group activities. Cost is HK$1,500.

Florenda ( is offering theme-based programmes for children aged 18 to 30 months and three to seven years.

The Splash Summer Zoo programme for children is based on a Chinese story involving two panda bears. In addition to developing language skills, the programme is also designed to improve a child's physical, sensory, emotional and social skills through the use of language games and songs. Cost is HK$2,640 for eight, 90-minute classes.

The older children's programme is based on classic tale Gulliver's Travels. It involves eight weekly classes of 150 minutes, with games, exercises, rap songs and tongue twisters. Cost ranges from HK$2,388 for one week to HK$1,888 per week for enrolments of four weeks or more.