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189

He's a lot calmer, more mature and self-sufficient than most toddlers twice his age.

Robert S. 5 Stars, Yelp
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We got a tip from our friends that if we want to find our son a daycare, we need to get on waitlists, ASAP. Wifey found this place online while she was still pregnant with our son. We attended the information session and learned about the benefits of a Montessori environment. Admittedly, I was hesitant on the cost, but I was sold on the fact that they teach Zhuyin and traditional Chinese characters. We threw down a deposit and almost forgot about this place.

We started sending our son to an in-home Chinese nanny when he was 3-months-old. We had a good routine and the nanny lived less than 5 minutes away from our home. When we were offered admission when our son was 18 months (the youngest they would accept students), I had second thoughts about bringing our son here. It pained me to pay almost double of what the nanny was charging and I didn't think our son would get the full benefit of the program at the age of 18 months.

I greatly underestimated how a toddler's mind works.

The first week of dropping off my son was rough. He wasn't talking much yet, but he obviously had some anxieties with the new environment. He would cry when we dropped him off and cry again when he saw us at pick up. I could tell he was interested in the classroom materials though. He used to lead me into the classroom, show me the activities, and have me sit down so he could sit on my lap. It was his way to explore and try and keep me there. At the time, we had Yao Laoshi and Liu Laoshi. Unfortunately, Yao Laoshi's contract was up and moved back to China and Liu Laoshi moved over to head up Toddler 1. Shi Laoshi and Tseng Tseng Laoshi took over and were just as awesome. He works with most of the teachers and staff in the school. All of our son's teachers/staff have been very attentive and nurturing. We would get progress updates and e-mails/pictures of our son in the classroom. Once in a while, parents are invited to attend activities and see how much the students developed.

Our friends and family are shocked at how independent our son has become. He's turning three and he speaks in complete sentences, tells jokes, sings songs, expresses his feelings, cleans up after himself, vacuums, uses the bathroom independently, dresses/undresses himself, helps prep food in the kitchen, and has an unbelievable imagination. He's a lot calmer, more mature and self-sufficient than most toddlers twice his age. In fact, our friends and family already put their names on the waitlist based on the development of our son.

I get how some entitled, helicopter parents get upset and write 1-star reviews in retaliation when their kid cries, but hey, this place isn't for everyone. Trust in the process, there will be growing pains, but I promise it will be well worth it. We are happy with how much our son has grown and we're excited to see what he'll learn when he transitions to the Primary classes!

192

There are no tears for my son because the teachers greet him at the door and make him feel wanted and welcome.

L.L. 5 Stars, Yelp
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LePort Irvine Mandarin is amazing! It took just one visit to the campus to help us make the decision to enroll our toddler at this school. There were three things that we were looking for in choosing a program for our child: a campus that delivers a strong educational program; thoughtful and caring staff; and safe/clean facilities. This campus meets all three!

The Montessori method needs no introduction. It is an amazing approach to learning that supports the natural development of a child. Every part of the school represents this approach and we noticed a difference in our son after just three days into his program. My son is empowered by his ability to learn on his own....I am beyond pleased. In regards to the Mandarin immersion...we do not speak Mandarin at home and value multiple languages for our children. We are all learning Mandarin because the school functions like a family and the placement of our English-speaking child into an immersion program becomes a wonderful opportunity that is well received.

The staff need to be credited. The Head of School, Katherine, is approachable, bright, kind and has a pulse on everything happening on campus. Her front line, the administrative team, Jenny and Eva...amazing! They were my first impression of the campus, and they left a professional and positive lasting impression. They are both efficient, and respond to emails in detail and quickly. They have consistently been gentle, patient and supportive. Now the teachers...an extremely talented group of individuals who bring authentic experiences and knowledge into the classroom. My child's Head Teacher, Ms. Megan, and her assistant teacher, Ms. Peggy, enrich the program with their special talents. There are no tears for my son because the teachers greet him at the door and make him feel wanted and welcome. My child's time away is positive, warm, happy and encouraging.

And finally, the campus is lush, green and clean! Parking is ample and easy to access in the mornings and afternoons. Gated code and open lobby make the campus safe and secure. Drop off/pickup is organized well by staff--classrooms are also situated in a manner that keeps the flow of parent traffic smooth and the staff ensure that the congestion is minimal to none.

I couldn't be happier with my experience so far!

190

We speak Chinese at home but this school has been invaluable in terms of supplementing and expanding on her language development.

Blythe Kathleen H. 5 Stars, Yelp
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This school is amazing. I started my daughter as soon as they opened and plan to keep her there as long as possible! My husband travels every other week and I recently got back into a busy profession, so we really rely on the school to take great care of our daughter.

We speak Chinese at home but this school has been invaluable in terms of supplementing and expanding on her language development. The program is special because your child is getting immersion in Mandarin all day vs. an hour or two. I repeat--this is the only true immersion program for toddlers and preschool-aged children in Irvine! Oh and not to worry if you don't speak Chinese--staff here also speak perfect English and are very attentive.

The teachers are all very warm/friendly and it really feels like you're dropping your child off at a "second home." Compared to other schools (even locally), you will notice a big difference in the staff in terms of their care and professionalism. They are experts in the Montessori method. The admin team is fantastic and super responsive to phone calls and email!

The facilities are clean and bright (ahem..brand new!) and well-supplied for the kids to do their "work." I wish this school was open for my son when my son was just starting school!

191

My child loves this place and we noticed a drastic change in his overall temperament and attitude at home after he started here.

Adan L. 5 Stars, Yelp
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Amazing!

I moved to California for my job and had to transplant my family to Orange County. One of my many concerns was how my toddler would take the complete change of his environment and schools.

We enrolled him in another big name pre-school, but my child would weep tears of heartfelt sorrow and scream bloody murder when we would drop him off. He would sob with tired spasms as if he had endured a harrowing journey to the end of the earth every time we would pick him up. We thought he would settle down and get used to the environment, but nothing changed much.

We found out about LePort's Chinese Immersion course and decided to give them a shot, since it couldn't be worse than what he was going through at the moment. My wife is Chinese, so we figured it would be great for my kid to have a full day of speaking Chinese anyway, instead of just the brief moments my wife would find time to teach him.

We attended the Montessori Method presentation (and Chinese Lion Dance!) they hosted one weekend to check out the facilities and meet the teachers. He seemed fine playing around the playground and interacting with other toddlers that were there for the event. The teachers were extremely friendly and were enthused to answer any questions and all concerns we had.

We went back a second time during a normal day to see how the classes were actually conducted and he looked comfortable during the time we were there. When time came to start his first day, there was a bit of resistance, but he acquiesced in the end. My wife and I prepared for what we thought was going to be the long journey of him re-adjusting, yet again, to a new environment.

Well, a few days later and drop-offs were painless. A week later and he was actually excited in the morning to go to school! He's beaming with joy when we go pick him up in the evening, showing us what he had done that day in class with pride.

There is a lot to be said about the Montessori method, but I also attribute his comfort and happiness to his teacher, Jackie, and the rest of the great staff at this LePort. Always nice and polite, happy and chirpy. Always a great experience when we go.

The school is clean, the materials are apparently special-ordered to meet LePort's Chinese language teaching method and standards and the furniture is all miniaturized and made of wood, giving all the learning spaces a warm, pleasant, home-y feel and smell. There are several extra-curricular activities like dancing and martial arts that you can enroll your kid in as well.

Although all the teachers seem to be native Mandarin speakers, the ones I've met speak English really well, so I can communicate effectively with them without having to rely on my wife to interpret. Huge plus! They host breakfasts for the parents every so often and take our kids offsite on field trips...

I wish I would have gone to this school when I was a kid. xD My child loves this place and we noticed a drastic change in his overall temperament and attitude at home after he started here. He's really independent and thirsts for autonomy.

I can't say enough great things about my family's experience with this LePort school. Thanks!

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