LePort Montessori Schools is excited to give children the gift of bilingualism by offering Toddler and Preschool Mandarin Chinese immersion programs at three California locations: Irvine, Fountain Valley, and Emeryville, and one Virginia location in Aldie. Early language immersion is one of the best ways for children to become fully bilingual – a privilege that has life-long benefits. Our Mandarin Immersion programs are integrated into our Montessori programs, so parents can give their children both in one place.
LePort’s language immersion preschool programs began in 2012 at our Huntington Harbor school with Spanish Immersion. Parent reception was so positive that we now offer Montessori immersion programs at nine of our schools (as of fall 2015); we’re planning to offer either a Spanish or Chinese immersion option at most new campuses that are large enough to accommodate this option.
We are honored to be able to give our students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to effortlessly master Mandarin Chinese while also providing an authentic Montessori education.
Mandarin Chinese immersion preschool is a great option for English-speaking families who want to give their child the gift of bilingualism! Mandarin is such a different language from English that unless a child learns it at a young age, he will need to dedicate an inordinate amount of time to master it. For instance, as we age, our brain loses the ability to hear differences in tones specific to Mandarin that denote meaning; without being able to readily hear the tones and to reproduce them correctly, we are unable to speak the language in way that’s easy for native speakers to understand.
Our Mandarin Chinese preschool is also a good option for children who have at least one Mandarin-speaking parent, to retain their Mandarin skills beyond the toddler years. Many families who speak a language other than English at home report that children lose their motivation to speak the language once they are surrounded by English in preschool or in elementary school. By surrounding your child with Mandarin language and Chinese culture throughout the formative preschool years, you will increase the chances that he will continue to speak Mandarin for life. Importantly, by equipping your child with the ability to read books in Chinese early (through his mastery of Zhuyin), you can help her to sustain her Chinese vocabulary development: she’ll be able to absorb both oral Chinese and Chinese characters from reading books independently.