Best Mandarin Schools in Toronto

Best Mandarin Schools in Toronto

For Canadians, French as a second language can be commonplace. But that’s changing. Last year, CCTV America reported a huge growth of people learning Mandarin, including former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and President Barack Obama’s daughter Malia.

In Toronto, there are several options for children to add Mandarin to their language repertoire. Here’s the breakdown:

Panda Mandarin

Address: 2nd-3216 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M4N 2L2
Phone: 416-970-8887
Email: info@pandamandarin.ca
Website: pandamandarin.ca

With five locations across Toronto, Panda Mandarin offers classes for both children and adults, as well as online options. It was started by a mom looking for a fun and engaging way to teach her daughter Mandarin in mid-town Toronto.

According to their website, "Panda Mandarin is committed to making learning Mandarin fun and relevant for all students, no matter what age. Students reach their goals because we deliver language programs that consistently engage, motivate and stimulate curious minds as they grow."

Children’s programs take place Fridays or weekends, with camps available during March break and in the summer as well. Friday and weekend classes take in children from toddler to grade six and utilize music, games, storytelling and more to enhance the learning experience. Adult classes are evening and weekends, with private instruction also available and there are two options for online learning.

"My son is going into his second year of attending Panda Mandarin at John Fisher," says one parent, Naomi. "He absolutely loves it and we never have to remind him to practise his Mandarin. He does so constantly as a result of the fabulous classes and teachers."

Class prices range from $87 to $277 per month, with camps ranging around the $330 mark.

Pros:

  • Several locations.
  • Free trial class for students.
  • Experienced staff.
  • Field trips.
  • Offers weekday classes at several locations.

Toronto Mandarin School

Address: 200 Consumers Rd, Suite 410
Toronto, Ontario, M2J 4R4
Phone: 416-304-0260
Email: info@torontomandarinschool.com
Website: torontomandarinschool.com

With six locations in Toronto and area, the Toronto Mandarin School has several options for children’s classes including weekend, after school, Mandarin/English bilingual preschool, early years learning, parent and tot, summer day camp, March break camp and Mandarin for teens.

The school was founded in 2001 by a group of teachers from China. Programs are designed to teach standard Mandarin, known as Putonghua, the modern Chinese phonetic system, Hanyu pinyin and Chinese characters of mainland China.

toronto mandarin
Study Session

"Toronto Mandarin School’s goal is to promote the Chinese language and culture and to encourage a multicultural understanding in a global society," states the school website. "By offering the most effective programs to anyone who is interested in learning Mandarin and Chinese culture."

The school’s children’s programs have maximum class sizes of 16 students, are "adapted to a western context" and have a staff experienced working with a variety of children. Age groups start at 24 to 36 months with parent and tot classes for two to five year olds at the JINGBAO Bilingual Children’s Centre and up.

"The teachers were so professional, attentive, loving and patient with the children," said parents Joseph and Racquel Tramulo. "We felt completely relaxed and comfortable each day that we left our little daughter in their care. You can truly see how much they enjoy working and caring for the children."

Pros:

  • Several locations.
  • Small class sizes.
  • Jingbao preschool subsidy classes for toddlers.
  • After school programs.

Cons:

  • Registration information currently not available on website.

First Class Mandarin

Address: (Main location) Thornhill/North York,
2900 Steeles Ave. East, Suite 203,
Thornhill, Ontario, L3T 4X1
Phone: 416-270-2161
Email: ranran@firstclassmandarin.com
Website: firstclassmandarin.com

Apart from their main location in Thornhill, Ontario, First Class Mandarin has two locations for children’s education: one in Midtown Toronto and another in Mississauga.

Children's classes for after school and weekends range from ages three to 13 and an early years program is offered as well for children aged two to three. First Class Mandarin restricts class sizes to 10 students to maximize learning.

Director and main instructor of the school, Ranran Hao, suggested the school’s website as a helpful asset.

"First Class Mandarin is a school focused on teaching Mandarin to students of all levels. Whether you are new to Mandarin or you already have some knowledge of Chinese language, we can provide you with the right program to develop your skills. Our programs are designed to maximize your learning in a short period of time."

March Break classes are also offered and range in price from $40 to $270.

"The textbook was really helpful and our teacher was great at giving me extra words," says student Deviann David. "She actually recorded her own voice and we practiced using her recordings in class. Very helpful!"

Pros:

  • Assurance 80 per cent of class time is spent speaking.
  • Small class sizes.
  • Cooperate with and offer classes in local schools.

Cons:

  • Just two locations.
  • Children's classes limited to Fridays, weekends, Spring Break and camp.

The Dalton School

Address: 1585 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M4T 1Z9
Phone: 416-432-3475
Email: info@thedaltonschool.ca
Website: thedaltonschool.ca

Toronto’s Dalton School is a dual-language school focusing on English and Mandarin.

The school works on a full-day schedule, split between the two languages from 8:30 to 3:45, working with kids aged four to 12.

"Our classrooms encourage interaction between children that builds cooperation, collaboration and leadership skills," states the school’s website. "Small class sizes, caring staff, a stimulating multicultural environment and plenty of time to explore and discover give each child the opportunity to learn and shine."

The Dalton School offers tours for parents who are interested in enrolling their children. With an average class size of 15 to 20 students, the school has a tuition of $15,000 a year.

Our Kids, a website dedicated to sharing information on local schools, names Dalton’s highlights as strong academic foundation, balanced curriculum, integrated technology and small class sizes to name a few.

Parents seem happy with their Mandarin program. Tina Davies is a mom of one of the students and she says her son was thrilled to attend Mandarin classes at The Dalton School:

"The teachers are so passionate and attentive-this has made all the difference in my child's self esteem, interest in learning, and overall development. Besides that, his Mandarin has improved by leaps and bounds. He can't wait to go to school each day!"

Pros:

  • Full-time dual language school.
  • Latest technology including Mac computers.
  • After school programs.
  • School tours available.

Cons:

  • Just one location.

Unique Chinese School

Address: 4271 Sheppard Ave E.,
Scarborough, ON M1S 2B7
Phone: 416-400-3889
Email: contact@chinesenumber1.com
Website: chinesenumber1.com

Unique Chinese School offers bilingual day care, a weekend program, after school program, summer camp and Chinese as a second language classes.

Last year’s summer camp welcomed ages one-and-a-half and up and included learning opportunities utilizing drawing, singing, swimming and other sports. Camp sessions are $30/student or $40/family. There's also a small fee for meals and materials.

unique
Exercising is a big part of learning

"The best decision I made this summer was to take a chance and learn Chinese, my biggest fear and most challenging goal," says student Zhuangwai. "I never would’ve imagined where I’d be now with 1,120 characters under my belt."

Teachers at Unique Chinese School are all from China and Canada, including Larry Liu, who has more than 30 years experience teaching Mandarin.

Pros:

  • Three locations.
  • Bus service.
  • Daycare centre.

Cons:

  • Dated website.

All Easier

Address: 365 Mayfield Ave,
Toronto, ON M6S 3L3
Phone: 647-993-0889
Email: cynthia.xu@alleasier.ca
Website: alleasier.com 

Started in 2004, All Easier Corporation has three divisions, one of which is the All Easier Mandarin School.

The school is run by Cynthia Xu, who was originally a medical doctor in mainland China. All Easier has Mandarin group lessons for pre-school to college age broken down into classes of 11 to 13, seven to 11, six to eight, three-plus and four-plus.

all easier presentation
Better Chinese Presentation

I have been learning Mandarin from Cynthia for about five years," said student Miriam Hanson. "We learned Mandarin by reading books, playing games, singing songs, working in our Mandarin workbooks, practicing writing characters and just having a conversation in Mandarin.

"Now I’m continuing to learn Mandarin over the Internet. I have made many new friends throughout the years learning Mandarin. I have very much enjoyed the time spent and am still spending with Cynthia and all the other girls in the group. I hope to continue improving my Mandarin skills for a few more years to come."

All Easier has a $20 registration fee and tuition can be paid in three instalments throughout the year.

The school also has a location in East York.

Pros:

  • Mandarin summer camp opportunity in China.
  • Online and private classes available.
  • Experienced staff.

Cons:

  • Dated website.
  • In-class Mandarin for kids Saturdays only.

Title photo by: Bridget Coila 

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2 Responses

  1. David

    With Chinese expansion it is only wise to pick up some mandarin I guess! I saw you Richard doing business with China yourself, what is your level? I am thinking of taking up beginner’s course but I always get scared away by all of those symbols.

    1. Richard Silver Post author

      I have picked up some minimal amounts on my travels and struggle with Rosetta Stone…it is only conversational however.

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