Met someone from China, in mid-20s, whose English was perfect, with a slight American accent. Wondered how this had happened.
Turned out her mother, a university professor, valued English for her child from an early age. From the age of 5, the mother arranged English classes for her daughter. Classes taught by the mother. The mother, suspecting it would be less successful if just the two of them, started what amounted to a kindergarten group of her daughter’s friends, all learning English. Working with a Disney language program. Kept the class going, for a number of years, so that at an early age, the children spoke, read and wrote English well.
Wondering about the people met who said they tried to go to Chinese school, Arabic school, Persian school or similar, on Saturdays in Ottawa. Didn’t take; didn’t want to go. Considered to be away from one’s friends, and one’s friends activities. Ending up with perhaps a degree of verbal comprehension and facility, at best. No ability in later years to read or write Chinese, Arabic, Persian or similar.
Remember in Saskatoon, when publicly-funded kindergarten was incomprehensible. Plus no formalized private preschools. Rather, a neighbour would set up classes in the basement of her home, and the neighbourhood children would attend. First exposure to some degree of formalized education, where one very much wanted to attend, with one’s friends.
The effectiveness of the informal, based on the social ties.
The strength of children wanting to be with their friends, and learn with their friends.
Needing adults to make the time, rather than paying the bill.
Maybe unique for this parent and this child, at a particular time, since parents now pay the bills in China, as well.