American kids enjoy early Chinese learning

By Mu Dong in Washington ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-03 07:12:43

American kids enjoy early Chinese learning

American kids enjoy early Chinese learning
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In a US classroom decorated with paintings of Chinese folk tales and characters, a dozen children are performing popular songs in Mandarin, such as Daddy, Where Are We Going and Stars in the Sky.

Seven-year-old Anna has studied Chinese for two years in the Confucius Classroom of Washington Yuying Public Charter School, a Chinese-immersion education organization.

Founded in 2008, the school is aimed at inspiring and preparing children to create a better world by challenging them to reach their full potential in a nurturing Chinese educational environment.

The school's steady development and great progress of its Chinese-immersion teaching model has captured widespread attention.

From Monday to Friday every week, Anna spends two hours learning Chinese at the school, writing characters, playing games and reciting the Three Character Primer, or San Zi Jing, one of the ancient Chinese classic texts.

During class, Anna and the other children were eager to introduce themselves and teach visitors how to say "hello", "thank you" and "goodbye" in Chinese.

"I haven't been to China yet, but I will go there in a few years," the girl says in fluent Chinese.

"When she grows up, she will definitely have to communicate with Chinese. I hope she learns Chinese as early as possible," says Anna's mother. "I have to spend more on this, but I think it's worth it, because what they will get is a lifelong skill."

In March, the children shared their trips to Chinese cities such as Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai with US First Lady Michelle Obama.

"Yuying has set an example and I wish there will be more schools that will enable kids to know about the rest of the world," she said during a visit to the school.

The first lady told the children that it is extremely important for American students to immerse themselves in foreign languages and cultures at a school like Yuying, if they truly desire to learn more about other countries.

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