"Why Chinese? Isn't Chinese extremely complicated for kids to learn?"

 

Actually, no. Comparisons of the rates at which children learn to speak show that no language is intrinsically more difficult for children to learn to speak than any other language. Our brains are built to learn language at a young age, and we’re good at it. One billion Chinese (that’s about one out of every six people on the planet) manage to learn this language, and your child can, too! Here are just some of the reasons we teach Mandarin Chinese in our immersion school: 

 

  • Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world. 
  • Mandarin Chinese uses no plurals, genders, or tenses.
  • Mandarin Chinese has an intuitive number-naming system that lends itself well to mathematics.
  • Mandarin Chinese is currently the most marketable language for job-seekers in global business.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense has dubbed Chinese a critical language and is investing millions of dollars into critical language learning.

 

It is harder to learn to write Chinese. Research and the State Department's years of training diplomats indicate that it takes two to three times longer to master written Mandarin compared with languages that use phonetic alphabets. Our students aren't expected to be at a native fifth-grade level in Mandarin by the end of the fifth grade. Rather, they're expected to be reading and writing in Mandarin comparable to native Chinese third- or fourth-graders.

 

References:

Department of Defense, 2005

Yingua Academy, 2010

Mandarin Immersion Parents Council, 2010

Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, 2010