Georgia adds Mandarin classes at three elementary schools
Note that the World Language Academy is an English/Spanish immersion charter school in Flowery Branch, Ga., northeast of Atlanta. It begins offering Mandarin lessons in 2nd grade. The Hall County school district there is now adding similar Chinese classes in three other elementary schools. While it’s not full immersion, it’s the only Mandarin classes available in elementary school in Georgia that we can find. If you know of a Mandarin immersion school in that state, please email us.
By Carolyn Crist firstname.lastname@example.org
Hall County School officials saw the value of teaching Chinese to pre-kindergarten students, and now four elementary schools get to take on the challenge.
After the World Language Academy opened options for young students to learn Mandarin Chinese, the Confucius Institute at Kennesaw State University offered four Chinese teachers to start programs.
The institute will provide volunteer teachers for Riverbend Elementary, Mount Vernon Elementary, Wauka Mountain Elementary and the World Language Academy, and Hall County will pay $16,000 in living expenses for each teacher. The Confucius Institute will fund all other expenses.
“We decided that implementation as early as possible is necessary in public schools,” said Carrie Woodcock, World Language Academy’s dual language director. “At World Language, students are taught in Spanish and English. We don’t teach them Spanish, we teach them in Spanish. For the Mandarin Chinese class, there was an immersion component where the teacher only spoke Chinese.
The students were very proficient by the end of the year.”
The other three elementary schools are the feeder campuses for North Hall Middle School, which boasts a growing Chinese foreign language program.
“It gives the students a jumpstart on trying to decide what foreign language they might want to study,” North Hall Middle School Principal Brad Brown said. “If they are able to get into the classes earlier and learn the basics of the sounds and symbols, the students can take more in-depth courses as they come to us. We even have a class that will allow them to earn high school credit, and I want to eventually expand the foreign language program down to offer more to the sixth and seventh grades.”
Read more here.
And here’s an article from 2008, when Hall County launched its Spanish/English immersion charter school:
Hall’s new Chestnut Mountain School and World Language Academy open
Chestnut Mountain – Hall County’s first charter school and World Language Academy opened for learning Thursday on Winder Highway at the site of the former Chestnut Mountain Elementary School.
Complete dual language immersion began with Hispanic kindergarten and first grade students beginning to hear and learn English and English speaking students beginning to learn Spanish.
Second through fifth grade students began their foreign language component including Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.
Stephanie Chambers said it’s an advantage for her daughter, Jadyn.
“I think it’s going to give them a leg up when they get older and they know at least two different languages,” she said. “ After they learn that second language it’s easier to learn a third language.”
System spokesman Gordon Higgins said the Academy is an elementary school plus.
“This is a first for us, a charter school and a school of choice and what a school it is with dual immersion, a world language academy,” Higgins said. “It’s where students will have the opportunity to be immersed in foreign language development beginning in kindergarten all the way through fifth grade.
“We’re looking for an initial enrollment of 400 students.”
Read more here.