Another question we get asked a lot is whether we will be teaching Pinyin to our students. Pinyin is a great way for students to learn Mandarin, but we believe the best time to start Pinyin is in the 1st grade (Pinyin is also taught in the first grade in China). We will introduce Pinyin in our big (older) student class, but will not emphasize it. The main concern is that since Pinyin uses the English alphabet but the letters are pronounced differently, it will cause confusion for the students as they learn both Chinese and English. At the ages of our students, (2.5 to 6), it is not reasonable to expect the kids to be able to separate 2 different phonetic pronunciation of the same letter. Our goal as always is to develop fully bilingual kids.
That said, depending on demand, we plan on holding introductory Pinyin lessons for interested parents. This would be a great way for non-Chinese speaking parents to help their child learn Mandarin.