Chinese Immersion FAQs
Q: What share of instruction of the Chinese immersion program will be in Chinese?
A: In our full immersion IC classroom (Ages one and a half to three), our teachers who are native Mandarin Chinese speakers will only speak Mandarin with the children during the school day. Since many students come to us with limited Mandarin skills, we want to ensure that Mandarin becomes the classroom language as quickly as possible.
In our Casa classroom, we will have an English-speaking teacher and a Mandarin Chinese teacher. The English teacher will work with the students on English language, reading and writing skills from the time they join the Casa classroom (ages three to six). This is important so children can learn English reading and writing during their “sensitive period”, which starts as young as age three. The English teacher will also work with the children on math, match concepts and language in preparation for first grade.
Q: If no one in our family speaks Chinese, can my child still join the program?
A: Absolutely! We welcome children from all backgrounds. In fact an immersion program is ideal for children from English-speaking homes to learn a second language like Chinese.
The trademark one-on-one instruction of the Montessori system is uniquely suited to foreign-language immersion. In the beginning, teachers speak slowly, use gestures, and pantomime actions to help children follow along. In Montessori, children learn at their own pace so no child will feel left behind nor will any child feel held back. We also have newsletters, portfolios and progress reports to keep parents updated, even if they don’t speak Chinese themselves.
Q: Even if its possible for my child to pick up Chinese at school, I still want to reinforce what she learns at home. Will that be possible if I don’t speak Chinese?
A: Don’t panic. A school designed to assist parents who don’t speak Chinese at home like Jordan International Montessori knows how to help parents help their children. It is still preschool, so there is no homework as such, but parents can stay informed by reading the school newsletter and their child’s portfolio. For example, if a parent sees in their child’s portfolio that she has been learning words for different articles of clothing, then they can ask her if she knows the Chinese words for her clothes while she is getting dressed in the morning.
Q: How much Chinese can I expect my child to pick up—spoken Chinese and written Chinese?
A: As we’ll introduce oral language as soon as the child starts at our school, children usually learn to understand directions in Chinese, speak in Chinese, sing Chinese songs, and play Chinese finger games within a couple months. Then they will learn to write and recognize Chinese characters in their second year. Usually, they start to read quite well by the time they graduate from the third year of Montessori Chinese immersion primary (at age six, which is the equivalent of the traditional kindergarten year).
Q: Why choose Montessori Chinese Immersion?
A: Each child learns in his own unique way and at his own pace. Our Montessori Mandarin Chinese instruction is individually designed. Our Montessori Mandarin Chinese teachers have rich experience in the bilingual field and are masters at observing children and giving appropriate lessons. Each child progresses at his own pace, and Mandarin Chinese teachers are able to support the children’s growth as an individual.
In a Montessori Chinese Immersion environment, we provide language learning in a real-life context, rather than from a textbook. Children will hear and use language everyday through interactive experiences rather than by memorizing from the textbooks.
Our highly-trained Montessori Mandarin Chinese teachers are native speakers. Each day children will get to hear authentic, quality dialogue in Mandarin Chinese. We also bring Chinese culture to life in the classroom through Chinese customs, food, songs, and special events. The children will have authentic cultural experiences and will be able to make connections about what they have learned in the real world.
Jordan International Montessori School in Austin offers top rated bilingual Mandarin Chinese – English Montessori and Chinese immersion programs for toddlers 18 to 36 months, and preschool – kindergarten 3 to 6 years serving Austin, Cedar Park, FM 620 & HWY 183, 78726.