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)

(you can also read more here Chineasy Zhuyin vs Pinyin)

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  (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.

Watch some videos explaining some differences between Zhuyin and Pinyin

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