Long Beach, Washington Mandarin Making its Mark
CHINESE IMMERSION IN NASELLE
Mandarin makes its mark
Naselle School kindergarteners go over Mandarin characters on a worksheet as part of a Chinese immersion class.
By KATIE WILSON
NASELLE — It’s nearly recess and the students in Qian Xiao’s kindergarten class are restless. They start to ask her questions — in English. But Xiao, who goes by the name “Tina,” responds in Mandarin. Her students listen intently. One girl twists in her seat and a boy, at Xiao’s prompting, looks out the window to see if there is any snow on the ground.
In Mandarin, he tells her there isn’t any.
It’s been one year since the Naselle School, grades K-8, introduced a Mandarin immersion program for kindergarten and first grade. With 37 students enrolled in the immersion program and the majority of students performing well on state tests, Principal Karen Wirkkala hopes the program will continue.
The school has reapplied for the grants that currently fund the classes and provide the native Chinese-speaking teachers, and school officials should know next month whether or not the grant applications were successful.
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