Language immersion is an educational approach in which students are taught the curriculum content through a second language. Students receive math, science, or social studies instruction in a target language, such as Spanish or Chinese. Because of the teaching strategies used, students are able to develop literacy skills in both English and the target world language while attaining academic achievement that is at or above their grade level. In addition, students will develop a world cultural sensitivity.
Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world. The Mandarin dialect is the official language of China and Taiwan, and is widely spoken in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines and Mongolia. According to the most recent US census, Chinese is actually the third most spoken language in the United States.
China is the heir to the traditions of one of the world’s richest and most ancient cultures and is the world’s second largest economy. According to a Bloomberg study of the most important languages for international business, Mandarin Chinese ranks first after English. China’s economic, political and cultural impact in the next few years will have a significant impact on the world. As business relationships deepen between Delaware and China, having skills to communicate in Mandarin will be an invaluable economic advantage.
How does it work?
In the classroom, students benefit from two highly-qualified educators – one for each language. An English-speaking teacher will provide instruction in in certain subjects for half of the school day. Students will then transition to a Chinese or Spanish-speaking teacher who will deliver lessons in the second language. Immersion students follow the same curriculum, in all content areas, that all students follow in any Colonial elementary classroom.
The Immersion Teacher will speak entirely in Chinese and communicates using a range of strategies including pictures, songs, games, body language, expressions, drama, etc. Young learners are adept at acquiring language in meaningful contexts. After a brief period at the beginning of the year, students will be encouraged to speak only in their new language during that portion of the day.
What does a day in Chinese Immersion look like?
The kindergarten day is divided into halves. Half of the day spent in the english classroom, half in the chinese classroom:
Subjects taught in the English Classroom:
• Language Arts
• Social Studies
• Bridging Lessons
Subjects taught in the Immersion Classroom:
• Chinese Literacy
Who can participate?
The Chinese Immersion Program is open to any Delaware resident. Families who wish to enroll an incoming kindergarten student must complete a “School Choice” application (click here to download). A lottery will be held to determine admission if requests exceed capacity.