Montessori21stCentury’s Weblog

Montessori Lessons, Ideas and More…

Adventures in Chinese for Children

on March 20, 2009

Tina Lee, a public school educator, college supervisor of student teachers, parent of two adult children and a grandparent of a 27 month old recently reviewed the Chinese for Children: Professor Toto Multi-Media Language Education Kit. Her review will provide invaluable insight to those wishing to introduce or add Chinese into school and homeschool foreign language programs.

“This kit is designed to teach children ages 2 years and up a second language. The multimedia kit was developed by François Thibault, founder and director NYC’s Language Workshop for Children.

I was privileged to field test the kit with my English speaking Chinese granddaughter. After viewing a segment in Mandarin, then replaying that same portion in English, she viewed both with quiet, receptive attention. The Parent’s Guide emphasizes that the child should watch both DVD’s first before moving to the activity books or audio CD. The parent guide emphasizes that viewing in English should be limited and “as soon as your child becomes familiarized with the story, he or she should move on to the target language.”

As an educator, I find that the suggestions on how to implement the program for the recommended short spurt lessons follow the best practices for second language acquisition. The approach is pedagogically sound – immersing the child in hearing, understanding, and internalizing the second language in a natural way before the child is expected to speak it.

To assist in lesson planning, the full script of Professor Toto in Chinese is printed in English, simplified Chinese characters, and also Pin-Yin (Western phonetic Chinese). The script is intended to closely match the culture and today’s common usage. Rather than a literal word-for-word translation, the emphasis is on an eventual intuitive understanding for the word meanings.

The kit is aimed for both teachers and parents and contains:
A Parent’s Guide
Part 1 & 2 Script in Chinese and English and English and Chinese
Vocabulary review in English and Chinese
Sing and Learn Book
Color and Learn Book
4 Chinese and English Language Video DVD’s
2 Audio CD’s”

For additional information please contact:
The Language Workshop for Children: Professor Toto in Chinese
Phone: (212)396.0830
FAX: (212)396.1372
E-mail address:

Thanks, Tina! 🙂

Heidi Spietz
American Montessori Consulting
Serving School and Home Educators Since 1988

%d bloggers like this: