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Wall Street Journal on Mandarin immersion in the Bay area

August 22, 2012

By BEN WORTHEN

SAN FRANCISCO—When kindergartners arrive at the Presidio Knolls School next week for their first day of class, they will be allowed to speak English only on the playground and at a few other times. Most classes will be taught in Chinese.

Kindergarten in Chinese

Jason Henry for The Wall Street JournalPreschool teacher Ruth Chou hugged student Deavon Gao-Bradley, 3.

“There’s a real demand for this kind of learning,” says Alfonso Orsini, the head of the school, which is adding a kindergarten after several years as a Chinese-language preschool. Construction crews are working to finish the school’s campus, a former run-down church on 10th Street. The plan calls for eventually enrolling students through eighth grade.

The Bay Area is now home to 23 such Mandarin Chinese-immersion schools, according to one count, many of which have opened in the last few years. Some of the schools are private—Presidio Knolls among them—while others are public. Still others are charter schools, which are privately operated but receive public funding.

There are approximately 125 Mandarin-Chinese immersion schools in the country, according to Beth Weise, who runs a website for parents of Mandarin-immersion students. Five are in San Francisco, including Presidio Knolls and Aptos Middle School, which also begins a Mandarin-immersion program this fall, as well as a Cantonese-immersion school.

Please read more here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 24, 2012 10:54 pm

    I am excited by the growth of the Mandarin immersion programs. My daughter is starting 1st grade in the first public Mandarin immersion program in our school district this fall. I am hopeful it will be a successful program.

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