Georgia 4 year olds learn Mandarin

Georgia 4 year olds learn Mandarin  Kathleen Bourn Georgia's Pre-K program…

Georgia (Jan 19, 2010)

Georgia 4 year olds learn Mandarin

Georgia's Pre-K program can boast another first. It's the first in the nation to offer Mandarin Chinese classes to four year olds.

They're so little they are still learning English, and learning to speak Chinese at the same time, but it comes so easy to them.
They're emersed in Chinese culture at West Cobb Prep demAcay. They know Mandarin songs and Chinese writing is all around the classroom.
Their Mandarin teacher doesn't speak any English with them, yet, they seem to understand everything she said.
"They can know the calendars and the boys and the girls. And, even they can count from one to maybe 99. Some of them they can write simple chinese words like left and right," said their teacher Fran Chan, who is in the United States from China specificially to teach the classes.
"We are the first state in the nation to have Mandarin language in our state funded Pre-K program," said Bright from the Start Commissioner, Holly Robinson, of Georgia's Early Care and Learning Division.
This program is in seven lottery-funded Pre-K classrooms in Georgia thanks to a grant from Kennesaw State University's Confucius Institute.
The teacher is on loan from the Chinese government and it's a first for that country to have someone teach Mandarin elsewhere to kids so young.
Yet, everyone is finding they catch-on quickly.
"Because all the brain research tells us that all their syntaxes aren't closed yet. So, they're just absorbing this," said Robinson.
Promoting a global atmosphere is important to the owner of the West Cobb Prep Academy, Bose Imoukehuede, who is Nigerian.
"Some of them cannot speak English, but with the Mandarin, it's an open flow for everybody," said Imoukehuede.
Some of the children are becoming not just bilinugual, but trilingual.
"They have started Spanish and then doing Spanish from Pre-K through 12th grade. Now this class will be doing Spanish, Mandarin and English, pre-k though 12th grade," Robinson said.
Bright from the Start is trying to place the Mandarin programs where the children can continue the language. A few of the public schools in Georgia teach Mandarin at the elementary level that then feeds into middle and high schools.



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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit