Father of “modern” Pinyin

January 13, 2018 marked the 112th birthday of the “father of pinyin”: Zhou Youguang

You can read more about it here:

  • https://www.google.com/doodles/zhou-youguangs-112th-birthday
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhou_Youguang

Learning Mandarin 3–5 days weekly is critical for kids

Kids Go Mandarin Parent+Child Music Classes at Hanwen School in Fall 2017

Han­wen School is hap­py to be able to offer our local com­mu­ni­ty a pro­gram for par­ents and chil­dren ages 0–6 years old.

Kids Go Man­darin music class is a Man­darin immer­sion music pro­gram that com­bines music and Man­darin Chi­nese in an immer­sion envi­ron­ment. It helps kids devel­op musi­cal skills in ear­ly child­hood and help devel­op multi-lingual abil­i­ties (by learn­ing Man­darin in a pre­dom­i­nant­ly English-speaking coun­try).

Cur­ricu­lum is com­bin­ing method­olo­gies of 2 ped­a­go­gies of Kodá­ly Method and Orff Schul­w­erk to build a play­ful musi­cal envi­ron­ment for kids to learn musi­cal skills through play.

Find out more about the Fall 2017 Kids Go Man­darin class­es hap­pen­ing at Han­wen School.


Our architect’s wonderful design & beautiful photos

On the morn­ing of our first Open House, our archi­tect, Tai-ran Tseng, came out to take pho­tos of our won­der­ful space. He is a knowl­edge­able archi­tect and has worked on some great music & dance space designs. He made sure our class­rooms and music rooms would designed to be sound-proof from our activ­i­ty area where kids will be run­ning around and play­ing. This way, stu­dents can focus on study­ing when they are in the class­room and have fun play­ing when they are in our activ­i­ty area.

Check out our pho­tos below:

Direc­tor Ron Chung and Archi­tect Tai-ran Tseng

Activity Hall & Entry

Hang­out Area and Entry

Activ­i­ty Hall — North

Activ­i­ty Hall — East

Activ­i­ty Hall — West

Classroom Space

Class­room — Out­side

Class­room — Inside

Arts/Crafts Classroom & Kitchen/Snack Area

Arts/Crafts Room

Arts/Crafts & Snack Area

Kitchen/Snack Area

Music Lesson Room

Music Room

First Open House Success

Thank you for every­one who came to Han­wen School’s first Open House to learn about our after school pro­gram and sum­mer camp. We will be start­ing after school lan­guage pro­gram in Fall 2017, so con­tact us to reg­is­ter and enroll your child.

Click here to view the pho­tos from our Open House

We had a won­der­ful Lion Dance from UC Berkeley’s VSA Club. They did a fan­tas­tic job bring­ing good luck to Han­wen School. The kids real­ly enjoyed feed­ing the lion cab­bage and tak­ing pho­tos.

Ron Chung, the founder of Han­wen School, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion about the chal­lenges for our chil­dren learn­ing Chi­nese in the US and what are some tar­get learn­ing goals.

Image result for powerpoint pdf

Han­wen School Open House
Pre­sen­ta­tion — May 20, 2017



Thanks to Go!Mandarin for com­ing out and doing a lan­guage & music activ­i­ty with kids at our Open House. They will be offer­ing a Man­darin immer­sion tod­dler & par­ent music class in Fall 2017.


Why Learn ZhuYin ㄅㄆㄇㄈ (BoPoMoFo)

One of the main reasons we teach Zhuyin is the large amount of quality children stories is widely available from Taiwan and Hong Kong. These children's books typically use Traditional characters along with Zhuyin phonetics. By providing kids with interesting reading material, we can keep children interested in learning Chinese in our after school program.

Children want fun stories to read and we want to encourage them to self-read as much as they can.

Magic Treehouse is translated into Chinese



Supporting Children to Read Independently

Compare the following Elephant and Piggie (Mo Willems) stories. For a child that knows zhuyin but may not have learned a vast amount of Chinese characters, they can learn to read the story by themselves. Contrast that to the Simplified Chinese version where unless you have someone helping you with words, it is hard to read independently.

Traditional Chinese with Zhuyin

Simplified Chinese version

Tendency to Scan Pinyin instead of Recognizing Chinese Characters

In addition, as discussed below, a reader has the option to scan and read only pinyin and not look at the Chinese characters. However, zhuyin forces the reader to read across the Chinese characters.

Below is an excerpt from Learning Chinese – Pinyin or Zhuyin? (source) that discusses the reasons why an English-speaker learning Chinese may be slightly impacted by their ability to read English Pinyin much faster and getting less visual practice with looking at & recognizing Chinese characters.

Apart from providing a new system of pronunciation that enables you to complete remove yourself from any influence of English pronunciation, Zhuyin also has great benefits when reading Chinese. Learners of Chinese will know this all too well – that when you look at a poster or newspaper that has both English and Chinese, your eyes are automatically drawn to the English. Naturally, this problem also occurs when reading Pinyin accompanied Chinese too, and is amplified by the Pinyin being on a separate line than the Chinese. Consider the following text:

When learning Chinese and reading this text, the reader is forced to look away from the Chinese to read the Pinyin, subsequently overlooking the Chinese:

When reading vocabulary or terminology lists, as the Pinyin is even further away from the Chinese, the effect is more pronounced:

Again, resulting in the Chinese being ignored or overlooked unless the read specifically diverts their attention to it:

Zhuyin, on the other hand, is tucked in next to the character, almost becoming part of the character. It is nearly impossible to read the Zhuyin without being exposed to the Chinese character. The result is that when reading Chinese, the reader of Zhuyin receives increased exposure and reinforcement of the Chinese characters, at the same time speeding up retention.

Obviously the main set back up Zhuyin is that the learner must first memorise all of the characters that represent the Zhuyin alphabet. This process usually takes a couple of weeks, but as seen above, the long term benefits far outweigh this temporary setback.


Calligraphy in Motion (Special Camp Session) : June 26–30, 2017

A few fam­i­lies asked about sum­mer camps empha­siz­ing Chi­nese artis­tic expres­sion. So we decid­ed to set up a spe­cial camp ses­sion dur­ing the week of June 26–30.

Our “Cal­lig­ra­phy in Motion” camp will focus on Chi­nese cal­lig­ra­phy and mar­tial arts.

In the morn­ing, var­i­ous art and craft activ­i­ties will be taught by a local Chi­nese art teacher, San­dra Chang.

In the after­noon, campers will learn kung-fu from local mar­tial arts instruc­tor Mas­ter Guo from U.S. Shaolin Kung Fu.

Through­out the week, we want kids to have fun, but also learn to express Chi­nese char­ac­ters in art and to learn a com­plete kung-fu form (a chore­o­graphed pat­tern of kung-fu moves).

Like our oth­er ses­sions, we will com­mu­ni­cate with chil­dren in as much Chi­nese as they are capa­ble.

  • Reg­u­lar camp hours: 9:00am — 3:00pm
  • Extend­ed care hours: 8:00am — 6:30pm

Fill out our Sum­mer Camp Reg­is­tra­tion Form (click to down­load) and mark Ses­sion 2 (our Calligraphy-in-Motion camp).

Come to our Open House 2017

We are hav­ing our first Open House. We want to show every­one our space, chat with dif­fer­ent fam­i­lies and share our sum­mer camp and after-school pro­grams.

WHEN: Sat­ur­day May 20th from 4 to 6pm
WHERE: 1548 Uni­ver­si­ty Ave, Berke­ley, CA 94703

We will have var­i­ous activ­i­ties for kids and infor­ma­tion avail­able for par­ents.

Come explore our space.

New Logo, Website Redesign, and Presenting at GMIS Parent Info Night

New Logo

Han­wen School final­ly has a logo. Great thanks to a gen­er­ous and artis­tic Chi­nese teacher San­dra Chang who has a back­ground in graph­ic design. She helped cre­ate a style that evokes writ­ing cal­lig­ra­phy in a fun,child-like man­ner.

Along with the new logo, we adjust­ed our web­site to bet­ter match our new logo and the col­ors of our loca­tion. Our old web­site was some­thing quick­ly put togeth­er to get infor­ma­tion out to the com­mu­ni­ty. We hope every­one likes the new logo and web­site re-design.

GMIS Parent Info Night

We also had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to present at the GMIS Par­ent Info Night about “Local Man­darin Options after Preschool” and share some infor­ma­tion about our Han­wen School after school and sum­mer sci­ence pro­grams.

Yay! Zoning & Building Permits Approved

Our zon­ing and build­ing per­mits were approved by the City of Berke­ley last week.
Con­struc­tion is ongo­ing and our facil­i­ty will be ready mid-March 2017.

Our Man­darin immer­sion & Chi­nese her­itage school will pro­vide after-school lan­guage pro­grams and sum­mer sci­ence camps to chil­dren in our local East Bay com­mu­ni­ty.

Infor­ma­tion about our 2017 Sum­mer Sci­ence Camp will be avail­able lat­er this week.
Join our mail­ing list to stay updat­ed.

We are locat­ed at 1548 Uni­ver­si­ty Ave, between Sacra­men­to St. and Cal­i­for­nia St.


Our facil­i­ty has great spaces for chil­dren to engage in fun activ­i­ties while learn­ing Man­darin Chi­nese.

  • A large activ­i­ty area allows kids to run around and is a great way for kids to learn Chi­nese through kung-fu, dance, and phys­i­cal game activ­i­ties. Relay races and oth­er games teach­es kids to rec­og­nize Chi­nese char­ac­ters while hav­ing fun.
  • A class­room space lets our teach­ers help kids improve their Chi­nese read­ing and writ­ing skills.
  • The library/study and arts & crafts areas break kids into small groups for var­i­ous activ­i­ties. The library will have a books in Chi­nese for kids of dif­fer­ent pro­fi­cien­cy lev­els.
  • The tutor­ing and pri­vate music rooms are avail­able for par­ents to pro­vide their child addi­tion­al sup­ple­men­tal instruc­tion or enrich­ment.
Floor Plan

Floor Plan