Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mandarin on my mind

Summer is nearly over and in just a few days my 5 year old will be going to kindergarden. Making education choices for you kids at such a young age can be extreme these days. We have always believed that there will be no other time in her life when she will be so free to play as she is we are always more apt to choose play and experience over strict education. Still, we were faced with some tough choices. One of them was the decision to enroll her in a 50/50 Mandarin immersion program (half the day in nothing but Mandarin and the other half in English).

Our local public school just happens to have a Mandarin language immersion program but we would have gone their either it was a very tough decision for us. We know other families whose children are in Spanish immersion programs and are gaining amazing experience in both dual language learning as well as learning another culture. Both wonderful. A special bonus for us is our girls are one quarter Chinese, so a connection to some of their own roots is also appealing (thought we do not speak the language).

I want my daughter to have confidence and be brave, to take risks and to believe she can do things beyond her limits. I want her to know that there is more to life than what even her parents know... More to experience than just the American way. This is a extremely unique opportunity to try to incorporate more than just reading, writing and math into her learning. But will it be too much? Will we all have culture shock? Will we be able to hang tough when it gets hard, or doesn't make since (both the language and the culture)? This will be a true lesson for us all in judgement and patience.

I'm hoping to share more of our experiences here as we get started. I know there will be ups and downs in this experience and I know that I will always struggle with the balance between our dreams and hers... But this is what living more is all about right? We are showing her how to embrace risks and new things. As long as we allow her to remain a child during the experience I think we will all have a bit of fun. I hope you will look back here as I hope to write from time to time about how it is going.

Below is a terrific article that I really liked about some reasons to learn in a bilingual setting and I also encourage anyone interested to follow my friends blog United By Language. She has been journaling about her sons first year and has a lot of advise and facts about programs that really have inspired me to take this journey. If you have any questions for me let me know and I'll try to answer them.

United By Language

Why It’s Smart to Be Bilingual

So full of wonder and amazement.... What an amazing journey this will be.

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