Author Archives: Katherine Bose

About Katherine Bose

Katherine is a mom to a lovable, rambunctious and very curious 3-year old boy. “Why?” is his favorite question of late, which is a fun challenge for mom. Katherine likes to ask “why?” too, which might explain how she ended up as a case writer focused on entrepreneurship for Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB). She enjoys interviewing entrepreneurs and investors to uncover why some businesses succeed and others do not. Before business school, Katherine worked in marketing and branding, sales and business development roles for software maker Marimba, the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and Clorox. She plans to launch a toy company focused on children’s natural exploratory tendencies and parents’ desire to expose their little ones to other cultures, languages, geographies and histories. Katherine received her MBA and BA from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, Katherine studied Communication and International Relations and played on Stanford’s inaugural varsity women’s water polo team. She spent part of her time abroad in Paris, and loved every minute of it.

August 8, 2008

meandering through mandarin

Around the holidays last year, I thought it might be fun to try out a foreign language class with my then 2 and a half-year-old son. I briefly wrestled with which language, with my top choices being Spanish, French and Mandarin. Not surprisingly, those were the options that I found with the greatest frequency when I poked around for classes online.

I finally settled on Mandarin for a variety of reasons, which included: choosing a useful language for where we live in Northern California, wanting to learn something new along with my son, and giving him some early exposure to something he might not get later in school (i.e., we are hopeful that Spanish and French will be available options when the time comes for him to start elementary school, but Mandarin might not be offered). So, partly driven by curiosity, partly by the sheer foreignness of the language and alphabet, and partly by the bandwagon mentality of China-mania (booming economy, Olympic fever), I chose Mandarin.

I found a class that sounded perfect through Language at Play, which offered different courses for babies and early talkers in the three languages I had considered at a few locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. The closest one for us was held weekly at the Beresford Recreation Center in San Mateo.

The class exceeded my expectations, and I was really impressed with the quality of the teachers, the variety of instruction and activities to hold the children’s interest, and the usability of the lessons taught. Every class had a logical flow that made the hour long sessions predictable even though they flew by! We started and ended each class by sitting in a circle and singing a simple Mandarin greeting song to all of the children (about 8-10 in all): “ni hao” (hello) and “zai jian” (good-bye). The teachers wove in book reading, puppets, dancing, singing, snack, and other activities. It was really fun. Now, four months later, my son can still say a few key phrases, including “pai pai sho” (clap your hands) and “xie xie” (thank you). I am strongly considering enrolling us in another class, time permitting.