WHY VAIS

Experts agree, and anyone whose ever taught a second language knows, the best time for learning languages is when children are young. After all, that's when we all learned our first language. Simply put, the human brain is developmentally at its prime stage for learning language in the earliest years of life. Moreover, study after study shows that children who learn a language before the onset of adolescence are more likely to have native-like pronunciation. A number of experts say this proficiency is related to acquiring the language before a physiological change that occurs in the brain as a child enters puberty. And as with any subject, the more years a child can devote to learning another language, the more competent that child will become in that language!

  • 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.

VAIS has three unique aspects that you currently won’t find in any other elementary school in the state of Wisconsin: 

  • First, although our curriculum is comprised of the usual core subjects of math, science, language arts and social studies, we teach half of it in Mandarin Chinese. Our 50-percent immersion setting means students spend half their day hearing, speaking, and writing in Mandarin Chinese, and the other half in English.
  • Second, our curriculum has an international focus, allowing students learn about and make connections with schools in other countries.
  • Finally, rather than the usual music, art and PE classes, VAIS students engage in Global Arts classes. Three times a week, students are given some combination of music, art and/or PE instruction with a focus on the global community.