Welcome to Abacus Belsize Primary School
Children at Abacus are linguists and explorers!
Mandarin has been a key feature of our school since it was founded and all children learn Mandarin from their first week in reception! At Abacus, we believe that learning a foreign language is one key to opening up the wider world to all of our pupils. Learning a language enriches the curriculum, provides excitement, enjoyment and challenge for children and teachers, helps to create enthusiastic learners and develops positive attitudes to language learning throughout life. Learning Mandarin from reception opens up the world to our children, breaks down borders and allows pupils to dream bigger, foster curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world. Our curriculum aims to enable pupils to communicate in another language by empowering our students to understand and respond in Mandarin expressing their ideas and thoughts through songs, games and conversation. We focus on developing their competences in listening, reading, speaking and writing building up their independence and self-confidence over 7 years. We aim to develop their respect for others both in our communities and around the world. We endeavour to build their cultural capital and widen their horizons through a range of class activities, cultural events and trips. The curriculum is enriched through themed days, participating in Chinese celebrations, themed lunches and visiting a Chinese restaurant in KS2.
Mandarin Progression and Implementation
Mandarin is taught weekly by a specialist teacher, Mrs Wei Hinton. Children start learning Mandarin in reception as part of their continuous provision and children from Year 1 upwards have Mandarin lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Children learn to speak Mandarin alongside being exposed to reading with the support of pinyin characters. Children are taught the 4 main tones (First tone: ma1 or mā, Second tone: ma2 or má, Third tone: ma3 or mǎ and Fourth tone: ma4 or mà). Throughout their studies, children have opportunities and write Chinese characters. Children are also taught about the culture of China, learning about Chinese schools, homes and lifestyle. In years 5 and 6 children learn how to write Chinese calligraphy with more accuracy. At Abacus, we aim to ensure that all of our pupils leave us able to hold basic conversations in Mandarin and be inspired to continue their studies into high school and maybe even visit China one day!
Please see below the long-term map of topics studied in Mandarin.
Attached is an example of a term plan spanning from reception to year 6. These will be adapted yearly to take into account changes in holidays and special occasions (e.g. Winter Olympics, Chinese new year).