The VAIS encourages students to:
- explore two languages,
- experiment with understandings and
- express themselves in a culturally rich environment.
We are about much more than learning Chinese. The same core subjects found in other elementary schools, subjects like math and reading and science, form the core at our charter school, too. However, in addition to focusing on this core, our curriculum also has an international focus.
Our curriculum is not limited to a China-based influence. We actually blend the best educational practices of the East and the West, at large, in terms of language, culture, and teaching methods.
Our curriculum follows a thematic unit approach. In other words, the core content is taught through a common theme that is integrated across languages and subjects. This approach assists in the transference of literacy skills as students learn in both languages. The thematic approach is a recommended, effective teaching strategy for language-immersion classrooms. It allows teachers to plan a school day that's full of cohesive activities that that lend themselves well to natural language development, academic content knowledge, and biliteracy development. The main focus is to study a topic in-depth by integrating all curricular areas. This also allows our English teacher to collaborate with our Chinese teachers to coordinate lesson plans and ensure that essential vocabulary is taught in both languages.
Links & Resources:
"What the Research Says about Immersion" - Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
"Why Study Chinese?" - Boston University, Dept of Modern Languages & Comparative Literature
"This is your Brain on Language" - Essay: The Science of Smart, America Radio Works