Teaching students according to their aptitude
I enrolled Chang Xin in Berries' Higher Chinese programme when she was in Primary 4. Since then, she only has good words for Berries and insists on continuing with Berries until PSLE.
Chang Xin often shares with me that, among many things, Berries' curriculum is particularly helpful in expanding her learning of the Chinese language. The school has a way of teaching new vocabulary that clears her understanding, aid retention and enables easy retrieval of phrases. This helps lay a strong foundation for the language.
I remember that not long after Chang Xin joined Berries, her teacher recommended that she go for the Berries Elite Chinese programme. I am impressed that Berries' teachers take the initiative to plan students' learning routes based on their needs and ability. I am appreciative that they saw my daughter's ability and potential and gave her a chance to excel further.
I have also had very good experiences with Chang Xin's teachers. They will go the extra mile to connect with me, sometimes after class, often beyond her working hours, to share Chang Xin's learning progress and offer practical suggestions on areas she can improve. Their sincerity in wanting to engage parents really warms my heart.
I have since referred many parents to Berries as I believe that, in Berries, students are able to learn according to their aptitude.
Lastly, a big thank you to Berries for having a team of responsible teachers who genuinely care for the students!
Unleashing her potential
Realising the need to build up Amanda's foundation in the Chinese language when she was in Primary 1, I decided to sign Amanda up with Berries, where she stayed until her PSLE.
Amanda likes her Berries' teachers very much as she finds them warm and approachable. The interesting teaching methods used in class and the interaction with her teachers and classmates motivated her to learn, and she thoroughly enjoyed every class in Berries.
Often after classes, I will receive feedback on Amanda's learning progress from the teachers. I can see the teachers' commitment to building a solid and positive relationship with the parents so that we can work together to help the children achieve good grades
Until today, Amanda still thinks of her teachers and hopes to visit them soon.
Good preparation for examinations
Berries' has excellent learning materials to help students master their composition writing skills and write vividly, especially the "Ah Li" series of composition handbooks. Amanda learnt many model phrases and writing techniques that she can apply in her composition writing.
Amanda lacks confidence in oral examinations. However, Berries' oral practices prepared her well and helped build her confidence. Eventually, she overcame her psychological barriers and unleashed her potential to perform well in the examination. I am delighted with her results.
Pleasant Berries experience
It has been a positive experience entrusting my child to Berries. I did not have to worry about Amanda's learning progress, and I have to thank Amanda's responsive, engaging, and motivating teachers for that!
Excellent teachers and comprehensive curriculum
Creating a Mandarin-friendly environment
When Aqeel was young, he was very reluctant to speak Mandarin. As we are a mixed-race couple, Aqeel does not have a Mandarin-friendly environment at home. We wanted him to have the opportunity to speak the language and be confident enough to do so. Thus, upon the recommendation from other mummy friends, we signed Aqeel up for Berries when he was in K2.
Coped well in school
After enrolment, Aqeel took a while to adjust to the Mandarin-speaking environment, often replying to his teacher in English instead. But we soon saw a noticeable change in him after a few months. Subsequently, when he reached Primary 1, he could cope well with his studies and the examinations.
Well-designed curriculum with excellent learning materials
Berries' curriculum is well-designed. As a result, Aqeel learned well at a good pace. The various learning materials also helped make revision easy, contributing to his strong foundation in the subject. One such example is the "Ah Li" series of composition handbooks. The various writing techniques and model phrases are instrumental in their composition writing.
Aqeel's weakness lies in the Oral component; however, Berries covers a wide range of topics in their oral practices. Thus, he was well-prepared and could answer confidently during the PSLE oral examination.
Patient and encouraging teachers
In Primary 6, each lesson was a gruelling 3-hours. Yet Aqeel was surprisingly motivated to attend, despite a tiring day in school. The credit goes to his teacher, who, with his humour, makes lessons enjoyable, lively and fun.
Excellent PSLE results
We did not expect him to achieve such stellar results in the PSLE. Still, with the confidence he built over the years in Berries, coupled with the teachers' encouragement and dedication and his own hard work, Aqeel eventually obtained an AL1 in his Chinese language paper!
To parents looking out for Chinese enrichment programmes, I would highly recommend Berries for their excellent teachers and comprehensive curriculum.
Learning amid fun and laughter
Prior to transferring my daughter, Deirdre, from another institution to Berries, I have heard many friends vouching for Berries' effective teaching methodology and the quality of teachers. They shared that Berries makes lessons come alive, injecting fun and activities, gifts and surprises – in short, lessons at Berries are never dull.
Indeed, Deirdre's experience affirmed what we heard. Berries' philosophy of experiential learning is one that I fully embrace. For example, Deirdre came back one day to share with me that she got to cook in the class as part of the day's lesson! The learning amid fun and laughter was firmly etched in her memory.
Caring and encouraging teachers
Deirdre also had very caring and attentive teachers. The teachers always have words of encouragement for them, even when they are not meeting the mark. Not only were they generous with encouraging words, her P5 teacher, Teacher Han, even treated the students to bubble tea as a reward for them!
Power of Composition Handbook
Most importantly, Deirdre has benefited much from the "Ah Li" series of composition handbooks. The model words and phrases taught and the weekly dictation helped her excel in writing and enriched her active vocabulary to become a part of her daily life. To this day, I still keep the whole series of "Ah Li" composition handbooks.
Another change I observed in Deirdre was her increased motivation to learn Chinese. She now appreciates that she needs to expand her vocabulary through reading to write well.
The way Berries teaches the children to write compositions is similar to imparting swordsmanship. First, they give the children a sword – the vocabulary and model phrases, then teach them how to use it well. Armed with the skills, interest and confidence built up, I believe Deirdre will master the Chinese language with ease.
Learn Chinese effectively
If I have any advice for other parents, it would be to inspire interest and inject fun into the learning of Chinese and expose the children more to the language through multiple sources.
An ideal place for learning Chinese
Emphasis on student's learning and environment
We first heard about Berries' good reputation from colleagues and friends. Unlike other tuition centres, Berries does not focus only on courses and assignments - the usual dry rote learning. They also place emphasis on the learning environment and teaching methodology and introduce activities that enhance learning.
Timely feedback and advice by teachers
Our experience with Berries did not disappoint. The teachers at Berries are indeed very attentive to each student's learning progress. Our son, Breyen, gets distracted and loses concentration easily. Thus, Breyen's teachers worked very closely with us through the years and constantly shared his progress and improvement areas. During the PSLE period, we had some practice questions which we were unsure of and had to seek advice. Breyen's teacher promptly replied, and we are very thankful for that.
Having responsible teachers who adopt a collaborative approach in partnering with parents certainly helps us supervise Breyen better at home. With his teacher's careful guidance and Breyen's self-motivation to study, we are happy he achieved good results at the PSLE.
Journeying with Berries for 9 years
Looking back over the 9 years in Berries, we are glad that we started Breyen early. We are very satisfied with his progress and always have the peace of mind to know that Breyen is in good hands. During the pandemic, Berries switched to online lessons and learning. Adapting to a new learning method wasn't easy for us, but the learning continued with strong support and confidence.
To us, Berries met all the requirements we had in mind for an enrichment school - an excellent learning environment, great teachers, and a convenient location. We would recommend Berries wholeheartedly to parents looking for a place for their children to learn Chinese.
Dedicated staff who go the extra mile
9 years with Berries
I first heard about Berries from my colleagues who shared that Berries has a way of instilling a love for Chinese in children. So when my daughter Zi Qi was four, I enrolled her in the Nursery 2 class in Berries. She has since stayed on and graduated with Berries.
Zi Qi liked everything about Berries, from the curriculum design to the materials and teachers. She felt Berries equipped her with good reference materials and a comprehensive vocabulary list. In addition, Berries' mock examination papers also helped ease her fears of facing the actual examinations.
Berries has excellent teachers. I am particularly thankful to all the teachers who have taught Zi Qi over the years. Special thanks to her P6 teacher, who built a very good rapport with the students. Her connection with the students and her patient guidance motivated Zi Qi to put in extra effort in the PSLE. I witnessed how her results improved leaps and bounds and am very pleased with her final results. I know I can always entrust her Chinese in the hands of her responsible Berries teacher.
Going an extra mile
Not only are the teachers dedicated, the frontline staff are also very impressive. To help Zi Qi adapt to the new environment when she first joined Berries, the frontline staff would gently assure her, take her by her hand and bring her to class. On another occasion, there was a heavy downpour one morning. Fearing that the children might get wet, the frontline staff donned raincoats and carried umbrellas to pick up the children. I was deeply moved by their willingness to go the extra mile for the students. Their service attitude is indeed laudable!
f I have a word of advice for other parents, it would be to start immersing your child in a Mandarin-speaking environment early. This will help your child cultivate interest and master the Chinese language.
Going beyond the curriculum
Returning to Berries
My daughter Chervel started with Berries at K2 but unfortunately stopped at Primary 1 when I transferred her to another tuition institution. Somehow, she did not take well to the teaching style in the new centre; she felt overwhelmed and gradually lost interest in the language. She finally requested to return to Berries. The decision to return and stay until Primary 6 was definitely right for Chervel.
Growing in interest
Chervel rarely speaks Chinese at home; naturally, her Chinese is not proficient. However, lessons at Berries kindled her interest in the language. I noticed that she would take the initiative to revise Berries' learning materials at home. She made such good progress that she joined the Berries Distinction Chinese class in P3.
To broaden her vocabulary, she went beyond the curriculum to immerse herself in the Chinese speaking environment, including listening to Chinese songs and broadcasts and watching Chinese TV shows. She sometimes even copied the lyrics of Chinese songs and researched words unfamiliar to her. All thanks to the nudging and encouragement of her teacher in Berries.
Remaining steadfast during the pandemic
When the COVID pandemic struck, I was concerned about how the online zoom lesson would affect Chervel's learning progress. However, I was surprised to know that Chervel had no problem adjusting to online lessons. Berries' zoom class was very well designed, with little difference from the physical class. From how the lessons were conducted to the administrative aspect of handing out and returning students' homework, Berries was efficient and organised.
Lesson Comprehensive, Having the Right Balance
Overall, I think that Berries' lesson design is all-encompassing and comprehensive. The curriculum covers every examination component yet does not place too much pressure on the students. This is important as it motivated Chervel to love the language and master it well. We are heartened to know that her love for learning eventually translates into impressive results during the PSLE.
“Thank you, Berries!”
I really like Berries! If I didn’t attend Berries, I wouldn’t have passed my Chinese PSLE with flying colours.
Through Berries, I have learnt how to revise for the Chinese subject. I have also discovered the areas that I need to improve on.
I like the composition series, “阿力爱写作” I find it so useful! Memorising the phrases in this series helped me a lot in my composition writing.
Thank you, Berries teachers, for helping me to improve, so that I can enrol in the school that I like!
From Shy to Confident
We don’t often speak in Mandarin at home, hence, Azlan’s exposure to Chinese, in general, is very little. When he started school, he was not doing well in this subject. He couldn’t manage and didn’t understand what the teacher said. When the teacher spoke, he listened but didn’t dare to ask questions.
The Right Class Size, A Syllabus Aligned to MOE’s
I am a teacher myself. I talked about Azlan’s grasp of the Chinese language with my colleagues and his kindergarten teacher. They all mentioned Berries for being fun and having a syllabus and learning pace similar to MOE’s.
So, I decided that Azlan should try Berries. Indeed, he could follow the lessons really well!
First, the class size was perfect for him. One-to-one classes have never been suitable for Azlan, as he would feel pressurized by the teacher’s attention on only him. Big classes are also not suitable, as he would be overwhelmed by the rest of the students. Berries’ class size was just right for him! It created an environment where he could ask questions without fear. This helped him a lot!
Second, Berries’ materials were very suitable for Azlan. For example, the “阿力爱写作” series gave him a lot of practice in memorising and using good Chinese phrases.
You see, in the past, Azlan felt especially pressurized when working on a composition, as he was unable to conceptualize a story or use the right words. He found it difficult to even write a few sentences; also, his stories did not have a beginning nor an end!
However, “阿力爱写作” changed all that. Azlan would use “阿力爱写作”’s words and phrases for composition writing and he grew in confidence. Azlan also referred to “阿力爱写作” to express himself in Mandarin. Before this, Azlan was very shy when it came to speaking in Mandarin. Now, he feels a lot better!
For his PSLE, Azlan knew that he could not bring “阿力爱写作” into the examination hall, hence he understood the need to memorise the phrases well. Without a doubt, the resources and methods employed by Berries helped Azlan greatly for his Chinese PSLE.
Every Child Is Unique
I am satisfied with Berries. During the circuit breaker period, Berries also put in a lot of effort to make learning smooth, engaging and practical for kids.
As a teacher, I understand that each child is unique and needs different learning methods and materials to thrive – as I have witnessed, Berries makes this a reality for every kid, including mine. I truly appreciate Berries’ efforts!
She Became a Masterful Young Writer
Fun and Practical
I saw from an ad that Berries uses fun teaching methods – such as word card games – to engage children. That was what I wanted for my girl: to experience the fun of learning. Thus, I signed Keira-Ann up for Berries when she was in N2.
She certainly enjoyed her lessons! One of her favourites was the “阿力爱写作” composition series (part of the P2–P6 Berries curriculum). This series was very useful for Keira-Ann to learn composition writing. She would also often use "阿力爱写作"’s lovely words and phrases at home, which gave us the opportunity to learn something new together, as a family, all the time.
Results Prove It
Eventually, Keira-Ann was chosen twice to represent her school in a composition writing competition. The first time, she emerged as the first runner-up; the second time, she won the Best Composition Award!
As Keira-Ann went on to P3, I discovered that the MOE Chinese syllabus became more difficult. But with the "阿力爱写作" series, Keira-Ann continued to learn Chinese well and could tackle the tougher standards and different components of her Chinese exams.
With Berries’ curriculum, help from family members and my daughter’s own efforts, she achieved stellar performance in the 2020 Chinese and Higher Chinese PSLE.
I’m very glad that Keira-Ann has not only felt a sense of achievement but has also increased her confidence in the Chinese language.
What can I say? Berries does a really good job at teaching Chinese to kids! The teachers are attentive to the children and are willing to provide feedback; meanwhile, Berries’ staff are always happy to help!
I have recommended Berries to a couple of friends. If you ask me, I’d recommend Berries to you, too!