There are plenty of private schools in Canada that teach the Mandarin language. These schools offer a first-rate education, and teach one or more Mandarin dialects, sometimes starting as early as preschool. This includes Mandarin schools in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Ottawa.
Different types of Mandarin schools
There are many different kinds of Mandarin schools in Canada. You should consider which option best meets your child’s needs, in terms of both your goals for language learning and for general academics.
Mandarin language schools
At a Mandarin language school, your child will be in an exclusively Mandarin environment, which includes everything from academics to the social community. All courses are taught in this language, except for English arts. If your child has experience with the language of Mandarin, or this is their first language, this may be a good option for them.
Mandarin immersion schools
This type of school is meant to provide a comprehensive Mandarin education to children whose first language isn’t Mandarin. Following the relevant provincial curriculum (such as that of Ontario), a Mandarin immersion school offers either all or most courses in Mandarin, with the exception of English arts. This type of school customizes education for Mandarin second-language students.
Bilingual Mandarin-English language schools
These bilingual schools have a dual-language environment. They normally offer around half their courses in Mandarin and half in English, though there are other models. Bilingual, Mandarin-English schools are a nice fit for Mandarin second-language students or those who simply want to become fluent speakers of this language.
Schools with Mandarin courses
Some schools don’t have have an immersive or bilingual Mandarin program, but offer courses that teach Mandarin. This includes courses at many different grade and proficiency levels, including introductory, intermediate, and advanced Mandarin. You might consider one of these schools for your child if they’re interested in learning the basic or more refined features of this language.
Benefits of Mandarin schools
Mandarin schools have plenty of benefits. Some of these are similar to those of other types of language schools and bilingual schools.
Five key benefits of bilingual programs
“In the last 20 years or so, there's been a virtual explosion of research on bilingualism," says Judith Kroll, a professor at the University of California. Research has found the benefits include enhanced:
School performance and engagement
Diversity and integration
Yet there are other benefits to language learning and bilingualism, some of which are especially characteristic of Mandarin schools. They include:
- Math skills: Some studies indicate that learning Mandarin can help children acquire early math skills. In particular, it can help kids learn both basic number concepts, as well as calculation skills (e.g., addition, subtraction, etc.).
- Learning music: As a tonal language, which requires kids to “sing” words (or speak in them in pitch), Mandarin naturally can help with music abilities. It can give young children early exposure to music, which can help them learn and develop music skills faster than others. In fact, some claim learning a tonal language helps kids to better “hear” music.
- Cognitive development: The cognitive benefits of language learning and language immersion are well-known. They can open up pathways in the brain which can help improve a wide range of intellectual and academic skills, such as logical reasoning, reading comprehension, and focus. But since Mandarin is a tonal language, it stimulates even more parts of the brain than learning non-tonal languages, such as English, French, or Spanish. This makes it potentially even more cognitively beneficial.
- Cultural literacy: Learning a new language often exposes one to a new culture, since languages are windows to the cultures they develop in. Learning Mandarin in a western country like Canada, though, can be especially educational, as children learn about a culture very different than the one they live in.
Below, we list private Mandarin schools in Canada. This includes Mandarin language and immersion schools, and schools with Mandarin courses and bilingual English-Mandarin programs. Click on a school profile to learn more about it, including its cost, location, and the type of Mandarin program it offers.