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Kalamazoo takes first steps towards possible Mandarin immersion program

May 10, 2019

This is a preschool program, so not a full immersion program. But if it proves successful and popular, the district might expand it. 

From: Channel 8

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Come next fall, the English spoken by 3- and 4-year-olds, many who have barely learned their ABCs, will mix with the sounds of Mandarin in one Kalamazoo-area preschool room.

Comstock Public Schools is launching a first-of-its-kind Chinese immersion school for preschoolers.

“There’s a lot of studies that show that being bilingual or multilingual has tremendous cognitive benefits. We feel the sooner we can offer that to our constituents, the better,” Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Thoenes said of the early start.

Like in immersion programs for older students, the preschoolers’ daily dialogue would be bilingual: part Mandarin, part English. But unlike the higher grade programs, there will be no writing.

“Three-year-olds, 4-year-olds, it’s too early for them to begin writing the Chinese language, the scripts,” Thoenes said. “And so it will be through music, through play, through traditional Chinese activities.”

Please read more here.

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