The lower school Mandarin program is committed to developing students’ Chinese language proficiency and deepening their appreciation for Chinese culture.
There are two tracks in the program, and different courses are offered in both tracks, based on students’ language proficiency levels, designed to meet students’ abilities and needs. In Grade 1, introductory, bridging, and grade level courses are offered.
The Mandarin Learner Track is for students who study Mandarin as a second language. The goal is to develop students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills with an emphasis on oral proficiency as a tool for meeting age-appropriate functional and informational needs. As the students gain oral skills, they begin to read and write, which sets them on a course for more advanced Mandarin language study. Students in the Learner Track use Pinyin, a Romanization system, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.
The Mandarin Heritage Track is for students whose first language or strong additional language is Mandarin. The goal is to develop and enhance students’ overall language proficiency while focusing on reading and writing to build a solid foundation in literacy skills. Students in the Heritage Track use Zhuyin, Bopomofo Phonetic Symbols, to help them learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters.