Who WE Are: Melissa Minor-Brown
According to Melissa Minor-Brown, her six-year-old son Zechariah was always a quiet, timid child until he fell in love with the Chinese Immersion program offered at New Castle Elementary School when he entered kindergarten, a transformation that Minor-Brown says took only three months.
“He loves approaching people in public who speak mandarin and initiating conversation. He has also excelled in math. Chinese culture is now a part of his life and our family’s life. He eats with chopsticks and plans how his life will be when he travels to China,” said Minor-Brown. Recalling a trip to the mall she says, “Zechariah initiated a conversation with a Chinese family which led to the mother asking if Zechariah could help her own children learn mandarin!”
Minor-Brown, who happens to be a state representative with Colonial in her district, did her homework before enrolling her son in the program where children spend half of their day with a teacher who speaks and teaches only in mandarin, and the other half with an English speaking teacher. Studies show when young children are taught a second language, they have greater academic success while problem-solving, and creativity increases.
“When I speak with other parents about Chinese Immersion, I explain all of the amazing benefits. Then I allow them to see it for themselves by introducing them to Zechariah. After one kindergarten school year of Chinese Immersion, he is a living example of how learning a second language early on can transform a child socially, intellectually, and begin to create possibilities for their future.”
Zechariah, now a first-grader, has always had an interest in Asian culture and expresses his own feelings about the program saying, “I like to speak to people in Chinese. I like Chinese plays like Shen Yun. They dance ballet like me. I want to move to China when I grow up, ride the elephants, and be the president of China!”
Thank you Zechariah and State Representative Melissa Minor Brown for representing Who We are!
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