Chinese Immersion Program
Christina School District currently offers elementary and secondary World Language Immersion (Mandarin Chinese-English) for students at two schools:
- Downes Elementary School (Grades K-5)
- Shue-Medill Middle School (Grades 6-8)
Students have the unique opportunity to become highly proficient in Chinese by participating in the elementary language immersion program. The immersion program begins in kindergarten and participating families are asked to make a long-term, multi-year commitment to immersion education. At the middle and high school levels, students continue in the study of their target language and may have the opportunity to begin the study of an additional world language.
The Delaware World Immersion Program began as an initiative by former Delaware Governor Jack Markell in 2012, who invested $1.9 million in the program with the goal of reaching nearly 8,000 students in K-8 immersion programs by 2020.
More than forty years of research consistently documents the power of dual language immersion education to help students attain high levels of world language proficiency. No other type of instruction, short of living in a non-English-speaking environment, is as successful. Young children especially thrive in this type of learning environment where learning a new language comes as naturally as learning their first one. Dual language immersion programs are also the least expensive way for schools and district to deliver high quality world language learning opportunities to their students.
The Delaware Dual Language Immersion curriculum model engages students in two different languages throughout their elementary school learning experience - English and either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish - and provides them with continued opportuniteis for intensive language learning through middle and high school. The documentary "Speaking in Tongues" provides an informative look into immersion and multilingual education. This short excerpt from the film provides a glimpse into a Chinese Dual Language Immersion program: Speaking in Tongues - Inside Immersion (Source: DEDOE)
What to Expect from an Immersion Program
Dual Language Immersion offers a rich bilingual experience for young learners when their minds are developmentally best able to acquire a second language; when their brains are hard-wired for language acquisition. Children at this age are adept at picking up language in meaningful contexts.
In class, the Immersion-language teacher speaks only in that language and communicates using a wide range of engaging strategies including pictures, songs, games, body language, expressions, pantomime, drama, etc. After about halfway through kindergarten immersion study, students too will be encouraged to speak only in the immersion language during that portion of the day.
From first grade forward both teachers and students will conduct all learning and conversations in the immersion language during that portion of the day. You will be delighted how quickly your child becomes a comfortable and competent speaker of Chinese.