With more and more families from mixed backgrounds in Beijing, many children may speak Mandarin at school while learning English at home or vice versa. Unfortunately, sometimes the other language can fall by the wayside. Recently, we had the chance to talk with Adele Kirby-Clarke, a mother of a bilingual child and the principal of Huijia Kindergarten Sanyuanqiao campus, to talk about an new program especially designed for bilingual students.
Tell us about the new program We offer a program for children from bilingual family backgrounds. The program is specifically designed to give children an equal balance of Chinese and English at the standards they require. Teaching and learning activities also are specifically designed for the learning styles of bilingual children. As we value both of our children’s cultures, we also value all of our teachers as equals. This class will have a Chinese and a foreign lead teacher. The program aims at embracing both of the child’s languages and cultures.
Describe the ideal fit for this kind of program. This is a mixed-age class for children aged 3-6. To enter the program the child must be fluent in both English and Mandarin for their developmental age level. It is especially suited for children from bi-racial families, or for children who have been speaking English at home from birth.
What kind of curriculum will the new program follow? We follow the IB PYP curriculum and philosophy. We also meet all of the Chinese National Standards whilst also reaching Australian literacy standards for pre-school children.
When do you begin? We have started a trial of the program now and presently have six children. These children are involved in the program two afternoons a week and the results are amazing! The children are happy, confident and proud to speak both languages.
Is there anything else you would want to share with the parents and families in Beijing? Any parents who are interested in the program are welcome to come and take a look at our wonderful school.
Contact information: Huijia Kindergarten Sanyuanqiao campus, 6 Jing’an Dongli, Chaoyang District (6463 5251) 朝阳区静安东里6号
For more information about Huijia Kindergarten, check our the School Choice Guide listing here.