When the room mothers for Julie Fong’s third-grade class at Marian Bergeson Elementary School brought Fong a birthday gift, her students happily belted out the “Happy Birthday” song – in fluent Mandarin. Then, they broke into a spontaneous chant of “Da kai, da kai,” urging Fong to “Open it!”
Bergeson Elementary, in the Capistrano Unified School District, is offering the first public school Chinese immersion program in Orange County. It launched in 2012 and has grown to include 288 students in seven classes, kindergarten through third grade.
Beginning in the earliest grades, students are taught 80 percent of the day in Mandarin and 20 percent in English. In successive grade levels, that ratio drops so that by the end of elementary school, students will spend half the day being taught in Mandarin and half in English.
It’s so important to Beth Pratt for her three children to learn the world’s most spoken language that she makes a 30-minute commute from San Clemente to Bergeson each day.
Please read more here.