How GrowAlong works

GrowAlong is much more than just a modern version of the penpal. It is a structured collaborative learning programme that was started by PhDs at the Institute of Education and is the result of over a year of development, tested by hundreds of families worldwide.

Your child will receive:

  • A Chinese learning buddy matched according to interests and preferences
  • A structured learning curriculum designed to nurture critical skills and knowledge
  • Weekly learning materials and projects tailored to your child’s learning goals
  • A bilingual educator who will individually guide your child’s learning

It’s very flexible! We understand that in today’s world, parents are often very busy while children are occupied with school work or extracurricular activities.

Acting upon all your valuable feedback, we have designed the programme to require only a short amount of time that will generate the most effective learning outcome.

Your child just needs to spend 20 minutes a week on the learning projects. Of course, you can choose to do more and spend more quality time learning with your children!

Likewise, the weekly video call will only take up 20 minutes of your time each week, ensuring you have enough spare time to enjoy the rest of your week.

Throughout the week, children work on learning projects and communicate through the messaging app. This can be done through messages, photos, videos or audios. All communications will be supervised and guided by your educator.

At the end of every week, it is where the fun peaks! Families and children get to interact and make friends in real time via video chats. This will be wellstructured and facilitated by your educator who ensures children participate and learn while they interact.

For more information, visit https://grow-along.com/learning/

Not a problem! 90% of children on our programme do not have any background in Mandarin Chinese. While picking up Chinese is one of the many benefits of our programme, it is designed such that no Mandarin is required for children to begin having fun and learn from an overseas pal!

Your bilingual educator will facilitate all interactions and children often follows many non-verbal cues. In fact, our programme has sparked the interest of many children to go on to pick up a foreign language at school!

Yes! Though we do not formally teach Chinese, our programme is perfect for building up a foundation for beginnersor reinforcing thelanguage for existing learners.

Your educator will guide and encourage your child to learn everyday Chinese words and phrases that are essential and relevant to daily life. Many parents have commented that this has sparked their children’s interest in picking up the new language.

Your child will embrace the unique opportunity to practise conversational Mandarin with their native friend. Actively using the language is one of the best ways for children to learn, together with exploring the cultural context of “real China” beyond what they see in their textbooks.

A Chinese friend serves as further motivation for children learn and gives them reasons to use Mandarin. Manychildren on our programme have seen significant improvements in their communication abilities.

Just like them, your children will also develop the ability to confidently communicate with native Chinese speakers now and when they grow up!

As educators, we understand and support the need to limit a child’s screen time.

Hence, GrowAlong’s programme has been structured with an emphasis on well-designed offline learning projects. Unlike learning apps and online learning courses, a big part of your child’s learning will occur through fun hands-on projects and learning activities that can be carried out with materials available in your homes.

Understanding that children of an early age may not be used to technology, your educator assign an appropriate amount of time for each video call. Younger children are limited to shorter durations and these can be adjusted according to your preferences. Generally, each video call should take no more than 25 minutes and children will be accompany by an adult.

Just like an overseas exchange, children will have activities where they will get to learn more about their overseas buddy, teaching each other their culture and their language.

However, with the wonders of modern technology, GrowAlong allows your child to experience such an exchange from the comforts of your own homes.Whether your child is too young to travel abroad or if you are unable to spend thousands for an overseas exchange programme, our programme aims to provide you the opportunity to broaden your child’s horizons.

GrowAlong’s curriculum has been specially designed for children between ages 4-13.Based on his/her age, your child will receive a set of learning projects that are tailored to their learning abilities and level of knowledge.

We hard at work developing projects for children of other ages. So, hang tight, drop your email in our mailing list and we will keep you updated as we open up new projects!

At this moment, GrowAlong welcomes families from the UK, USA and China to get involved in our programme. However, we do also have many families from the rest of the world!

If you will like to get involved, simply sign up! No payment will be taken until we have successfully matched you with a foreign learning buddy.

Sign up by filling this simple form, no payment will be taken. Next, we will find a Chinese learning buddy for your child within 2 days. Hang on and sit tight as we begin our exciting learning journey!

Not a problem! Many families on our programme sign up all of their children. In fact, the more the merrier as your children will be able to interchange between learning projects, providing them with a variety of topics in any given week.

Simply inform your teacher and she will make suitable arrangements to move the projects. Just like that, worry and fuss-free!

Firstly, let your educator know! He/she is there to provide dedicated support to your child’s learning. Your educator will work closely with you to help tailor the programme in a way that will make it fun and engaging!

In fact, our educators have been trained to constantly collect feedbacks from you and your child so as make the programme your very own! Parents in the past have requested for more interaction time, more mandarin learning and more cultural activities among others. Each time, we have responded to make the programme personalise to each one of our families.

As much as us educators will put in the extra mile to ensure we fit the programme around your child’s interests, we understand that it may not be suitable for everyone.

You will be able to request a refund for all remaining weeks, no questions asked.

Simply a mobile device such as a mobile phone or a tablet device will do!

Yes we do! If you are a teacher, please see https://grow-along.com/teachers-area/ to see how GrowAlong can support your classroom teachings.

Child Safety & Safeguarding

At GrowAlong, we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding issues that may concern a child’s safety. All our educators undergo strict background checks and rigorous E-Safety training with all interactions supervised at all times.

Educators are trained to adhere to safeguarding procedures. All interactions between families and children will be supervised at all times by your educator. If an educator sees/experience any inappropriate language, behaviors or are witness to abuse/suspicion of abuse, they are to terminate the programme and raise the matter immediately with our Designated Safety Person(DSP).

The DSP may choose to escalate the matter to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) in the UK or the relevant state authorities in the US.

Our curriculum and projects are designed to steer clear of sensitive topics such as those concerning politics and religious beliefs, unless otherwise agreed between the partner families. Your educator is trained to exercise a keen eye on these issues and take appropriate actions at any time when a parent or child informs the educator of their discomfort.

Any complaints against our educators in this respect will be treated seriously and we will execute a series of procedures to investigate any wrongdoings. In the meantime, the educator will be suspended from any child-related duties until we are confident that they will not put children at risk of harm.

Please feel free to voice out any concerns to your educator, email our Michelle (our DSP) at contact@grow-along.com or call us at (UK) +44(0)20 3290 7666. We will treat each case with strict confidentiality and take appropriate measures to follow up.

Payment & Discounts

No, our 1 month cross-cultural learning programme is free for children ages 4-13.

No, it is not! We do not collect any payment information at sign up.

Each month of programme is completely independent and there is no obligation to continue.

When you sign up, each set of projects is just a month long. Outside of that, there is no commitment and no lock in (you can cancel at any time)!

We keep the one-month programme free so as to make it accessible to all families.

As a social enterprise started by educators, we care about making learning about the modern world fun, affordable, and effective for your child.

To ensure your child gains from the programme, GrowAlong provides a full and comprehensive learning experience. Other than receiving meticulously designed learning materials every week, our teachers dedicate their time providing individual attention to ensure each and every child is engaged and learning from the interactions.

After the first month, because of this ethos, we charge the bare minimal just to cover the time of your child’s private teacher as legislated in the minimum wage. This fee allows us to hire more teachers to expand the free programme to benefit more families.

Should you wish to sign your child up for an additional month of programme, it is just £19.90 / $25.90 to cover the time of the private bilingual teacher for your child.

Think of it as a private tutor for your child but at less than 1/5 the price*

*As compared to online private tutors

If you pay on our website, using your debit card or PayPal account the payments are not handled by us. In fact, we never see or touch your payment information. Instead, we use the secure, encrypted payment providers:

  • Stripe (for debit cards or credit cards) 
  • PayPal (for PayPal accounts)

Tips for ensuring your payment is secure

  1. We will never call you or email you to confirm any payment information like credit card number.
  2. You can always email or call us if you want to confirm any details about your account, or our payment processing. Our email is contact@grow-along.com and our telephone number (UK) is +44 (0)20 3290 7666.