Mandarin Chinese private immersion school right in our neighborhood

This morning, we attended a private school program orientation for 2s through 8th grade in our neighborhood. The biggest selling point of this school is that it’s a full immersion program for either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. I had passed it multiple times during weekend walks in the neighborhood, attempting to get Kaia to fall asleep in her stroller, and so today they hosted an open house. It really was a real school “open house” in the sense that not only did the principal and multiple staff members present and participate, but they even had guest parents (who participate in the parent association) and guest students speak about why their program was so special. And yes, they even had refreshments. The orientation in the gym was about an hour long, and after it concluded, we were whisked onto a 30-minute school tour, one for Spanish immersion, and one for Mandarin immersion. 

It was hard not to be impressed with the school after all the other daycare/school tours we have done, but it felt unfair to compare given the others I had attended were fully just daycares or public schools. The presentations were very comprehensive and well put together. The biggest differentiator with this immersion program is that up to age 3, the kids are 100 percent immersed in Mandarin/Spanish; from ages 3-5, they have instruction in Mandarin/Spanish 90 percent of the time, and it starts going down to 80 percent and then 70 percent in subsequent years as they get into higher elementary/middle school years. No pinyin is taught until second grade for Mandarin, since pinyin is obviously not used for native speakers – I was pretty (pleasantly) surprised to learn this during the tour. It’s mainly introduced to allow the students to use Chromebooks to type Chinese (using pinyin to indicate which characters you want to use). Both Chinese/English are on the walls, so it’s not just spoken that’s constantly reinforced like in the immersion school we saw in Chinatown, but it’s also the written that is emphasized everywhere. From a language enrichment/immersion standpoint, I’d never heard of any program that quite “immersed” children into the “target language” like this. And well, as they said during their presentation, theirs was the only program in the city (if not the country) that approaches language learning in this way. 

And, as you would imagine, the tuition is NOT cheap. The annual tuition is only for the school year, so from September through June. For summer programs, this, of course, would be extra (and would only go until 3pm; if you want “after care,” you will also need to pay for that… because you have to pay… for everything). Well, if you want nice things… 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.