Commonly Asked Questions
Q: What health and safety measures will you implement for the pod?
A: Children’s health and safety are our most important priorities. We will publish a guideline of safety measures that will need to be signed and agreed upon by all pod families before a pod can be formed. Please click this page to get an overview.
Q: Is this a drop-off program? Do I need to stay for the entire class?
A: Ya-Ya Pod is a drop-off program. It will be taught by 1 teacher, and 1 volunteer grownup from one of the pod families will be required as a stand-by assistant. Stand-by means that the volunteer must stay in the host family home in order to provide extra assistance during hygiene routines (potty, diapers), snack or project time, and most importantly, outdoor time. Having a volunteer assistant not only ensures extra safety, it also allows the teacher to focus more attention on teaching. The stand-by volunteer can be any pod family member (parent, grandparent), or a caregiver. We will set up a rotation schedule for available family member volunteers.
Q: Can each family take turns and rotate being the host family of the same Ya-Ya Pod class?
A: No. The learning environment plays a key role as the “other” teacher in our Ya-Ya Immersion curriculum and teaching philosophy. Before a Ya-Ya Pod can be formed, our team will evaluate carefully if a host family’s space can be set up appropriately to mimic a real classroom. Moreover, having the same classroom space is important in implementing a consistent set of safety and health measures, which will be agreed upon by all pod family members before a pod can be confirmed.
Q: At what age can my child start Ya-Ya Pod?
A: Minimum age to start Ya-Ya Pod is 2 years old. That is, your child must turn 2 by the first day of class.
Q: How big is the Ya-Ya Pod class size?
A: Each pod should have a minimum of 3 children and a maximum of 5 children.
Q: What age range is recommended for each Ya-Ya Pod class?
A: We recommend an age range within 2 years apart in the same pod. For example, age 2 to 4, or age 3 to 5. Each pod will have its own unique situation, including age group, Mandarin abilities, and neighborhood. Our team will carefully consider all factors before we form a Ya-Ya pod that we believe will work well for all the children in the same pod.
Q: Does my child need to know Mandarin?
A: Prior Mandarin background is not necessary. At this early age, a child picks up a language, whether Mandarin or English, naturally by being immersed in an environment where the target language is spoken. We also provide extra support curriculum materials for the families if they wish to give the child extra Mandarin support at home.
Q: Is mixed age group learning beneficial?
A: Many studies point to the benefits of mixed-age grouping, and it is embraced by various early childhood educational approaches, such as Montessori. Younger children learn more complex language and types of play from the older children, while the older children have opportunities to practice leadership skills and pro-social behaviors, like helping and sharing.
Q: How is separation handled?
A: Separation anxiety is common at this young age, and we fully understand that it can be challenging for both the children and parents. Some children may transition quickly after only several days while some children may need several weeks. Our teachers are experienced and patient during this phase-in process. It is important to respect the pace of each individual child. Trusting the guidance of our teachers will help ensure a positive experience and a smooth transition for each child.
Q: How can I help my children review Mandarin at home?
A: Our team will send out monthly curriculum overview emails. We will also provide supplementary lesson materials such as vocabulary list, songs, and any extra resources related to the topic studied in class. All support materials will be posted on our password-protected Family Login webpage.
Q: My child is not yet 2 years old, but what option do you offer for my child’s age if she/he is not ready for Ya-Ya Pod?
A: Ya-Ya Pod is a drop-off class appropriate for age 2 to 5. Our Bao-Bao Singalong program is great for children under age 2. It is a fun and musical Grownup & Me class that will expose your child to Mandarin and prepare your child for attending any future drop-off Mandarin program.
Q: After Ya-Ya Pod, is it easy to transition to another school?
A: Ya-Ya Pod is an alternative homeschool program designed for preschoolers. Your child will not only learn Mandarin, but all the necessary skills taught in a preschool program. Our students have moved on to a wide range of schools (independent schools, G&T schools, and public schools) successfully. If you wish to apply to an independent school, our team can also provide support in submitting student assessment reports, and recommendation letters.
Q: How do I apply to Ya-Ya Pod? Is there a deadline?
A: First step is to submit the Ya-Ya Pod application here, whether you wish to become a pod host family or just want to be a participating pod family member. A pod can be formed only when all requirements are met. Please submit your application as soon as possible, as spots are very limited.
Q: Is there a snack/food policy?
A: Mandarin Seeds does not serve any snack or food during the class. All snacks/food must be prepared at home by each family and NUT FREE to prevent any allergy incidents.