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Old 17.08.2020, 23:08
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How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

Hi All,

How do you guys teach/maintain your children Mandarin in Zurich (canton), while not being the Mandarin speakers yourselves?
We are in a situation that we will be moving to Zurich in 1-3 years time. Plan is to live rather outside Zurich city (potential for bigger property to rent for family with soon three children for "less") and commute to Zurich to work.

My kids started the journey with Mandarin in bilingual nursery in London and we would like them to carry on, as they do pretty good. We are looking for solutions allowing to support their further language acquisition.
So far I came up with below (I can drop links, but this is my first post in here and I am not quite sure about the rules re ads):
* a Mandarin nursery in Zurich
* au pair
* Mandarin language schools/classes (in particular there is one school having classes distributed across Zurich canton, with some interesting concentration in Thalwil for some reason). Is Thalwil a convenient place to live, commute and teach Mandarin same time by any chance?

The last thing, which came up to mind is Mandarin speaking nanny or person who studies in Zurich and is willing to teach children few times a week, but I did not research that option at all, yet.
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Old 17.08.2020, 23:39
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

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Hi All,

How do you guys teach/maintain your children Mandarin in Zurich (canton), while not being the Mandarin speakers yourselves?
We are in a situation that we will be moving to Zurich in 1-3 years time. Plan is to live rather outside Zurich city (potential for bigger property to rent for family with soon three children for "less") and commute to Zurich to work.

My kids started the journey with Mandarin in bilingual nursery in London and we would like them to carry on, as they do pretty good. We are looking for solutions allowing to support their further language acquisition.
So far I came up with below (I can drop links, but this is my first post in here and I am not quite sure about the rules re ads):
* a Mandarin nursery in Zurich
* au pair
* Mandarin language schools/classes (in particular there is one school having classes distributed across Zurich canton, with some interesting concentration in Thalwil for some reason). Is Thalwil a convenient place to live, commute and teach Mandarin same time by any chance?

The last thing, which came up to mind is Mandarin speaking nanny or person who studies in Zurich and is willing to teach children few times a week, but I did not research that option at all, yet.
Welcome to the forum!

We have a baby who we are going to teach mandarin to. Mum is a native speaker. I (white British) can't speak a word. We were planning to have our kids go to either the Basel or the Zurich school, as well as getting exposure at home.

I think the one thing I would recommend is to make friends with Chinese families who will do playdates etc. in mandarin. My wife's made lots of friends from within the Chinese community here, and the hope is that that will help the baby pick up Chinese more easily (we speak English at home).

You may well find someone in the Chinese community who is willing to give lessons. Of the Chinese people we know, there's quite a few stay at home mums who might be willing to pitch in for a few franks (presuming they are allowed to legally work).
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Old 18.08.2020, 07:53
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

An au pair won't work in this situation. They're mainly here to learn a Swiss language and about Swiss life/culture. This is why hosts must speak a Swiss language.

https://perfectway.ch/en/for-families/employ-au-pairs
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Old 18.08.2020, 09:20
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

A friend of ours lived in China for a while and their daughter kept her Mandarin when they returned to Zurich, with two strategies:


- weekly online classes with her teacher from China
- summer holidays spend living with the teacher in China.



Both were much cheaper options than paying for local classes in Switzerland, plus 'cheap' childcare for the summer holidays every year.
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Old 18.08.2020, 10:52
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

Once COVID is over... just send them to Zermatt, Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch etc they’ll find plenty of people to speak with
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Old 18.08.2020, 11:39
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Welcome to the forum!

We have a baby who we are going to teach mandarin to. Mum is a native speaker. I (white British) can't speak a word. We were planning to have our kids go to either the Basel or the Zurich school, as well as getting exposure at home.

I think the one thing I would recommend is to make friends with Chinese families who will do playdates etc. in mandarin. My wife's made lots of friends from within the Chinese community here, and the hope is that that will help the baby pick up Chinese more easily (we speak English at home).

You may well find someone in the Chinese community who is willing to give lessons. Of the Chinese people we know, there's quite a few stay at home mums who might be willing to pitch in for a few franks (presuming they are allowed to legally work).
Thank you for your response.

In our case making friends with some other Mandarin speaking families is definitely an option. We actually employ this approach here in London, but as far as I can see it is working great as a complementary strategy.

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An au pair won't work in this situation. They're mainly here to learn a Swiss language and about Swiss life/culture. This is why hosts must speak a Swiss language.

https://perfectway.ch/en/for-families/employ-au-pairs
That is something I totally did not take into account. Thanks @Medea Fleecestealer for pointing it out. Link is useful too.

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A friend of ours lived in China for a while and their daughter kept her Mandarin when they returned to Zurich, with two strategies:


- weekly online classes with her teacher from China
- summer holidays spend living with the teacher in China.



Both were much cheaper options than paying for local classes in Switzerland, plus 'cheap' childcare for the summer holidays every year.
Thank you. This is an excellent and efficient technique.

Last edited by MusicChick; 18.08.2020 at 12:58. Reason: merging consecutive posts
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Old 18.08.2020, 20:39
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

What an interesting post!

I think both you and others already listed some really good strategies. I will just add a few more here:

*Play date with a Mandarin speaker (I'm sure some Chinese speaking students in Zurich would be interested in doing this as a part-time job)
*Parents-organised Chinese-speaking activities (would be worth looking at different Facebook groups actually)
*Online private Chinese lessons for children

You could also try to create a Chinese learning environment at home by, e.g. making Chinese books available to your children, sticking Chinese words around, etc. I read about these strategies on one of these blogs about raising multilingual kids, even when the parents don't speak the language themselves.
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Old 18.08.2020, 22:34
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

Yeap, some of them we have already deployed ie books, playgroups, songs and so on. I just hope I could repeat the setup (at least to some extent) in CH.
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Old 18.08.2020, 23:46
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

There is a Mandarin Spielgruppe in Zürich, Learning Panda:
https://www.learningpanda.ch/de/home

I don't have any personal experience, so this is not a recommendation per se. I just remembered seeing the facility while out running errands.

---

While on the way to looking up the above, I also found a Chinese Play Group run by the GZ Heureid. Gemeindschaftszentren (GZ) are community centers - and many are true gems, offering all sorts of activities for all ages.
https://gz-zh.ch/gz-heuried/angebote...spielgruppe-2/

---

FWIW, a quick google of 'Spielgruppe Mandarin' or Mandarin für Kinder' brings up several hits in Zürich

---
You could also look for a private tutor via Tutor24, a platform that brings together people looking for part time gigs and folks who need help.
https://tutor24.ch/de

Searching on 'Mandarin' yields a dozen or so tutors in within 10km from central Zürich, if you expand the range there are a few more. I didn't look for tutors willing to work with children, so that might limit the numbers.

You can also post an ad of your own.

You have to be a member to access the tutor's profiles and contact them. A year's membership is inexpensive.

---

While you likely can't hire an Au Pair, you could hire a nanny. Do be aware, though, that you might need to pay a premium for a Mandarin speaker, as this is a sought-after skill.


Good luck - hope you find what you need!
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Old 19.08.2020, 22:33
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Re: How to maintain Mandarin in Zurich (canton)?

Thank you very much @meloncollie for your help and effort.

I also came across Learning Panda nursery, but I was not sure, whether I should send a link here (ads policy violation etc). Now, I can see I should have done that :)

When it comes to the rest of the links, they are true gems for me! Thanks a lot for them :thumbsup:

---

After reading again all the answers here to my first post, I have to admit that this forum is of high quality. Exactly what Switzerland is famous for ;) Thank you all guys.
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