Welcome to Mandarin Chinese Montessori Preschool in Irvine!
Our Mandarin Chinese immersion Montessori program will be offered at our Irvine Chinese campus, near the Westpark area of Irvine, just off Alton and Culver. We will offer Chinese immersion toddler and Chinese immersion preschool programs at this location, creating a vibrant Chinese community for the children.
Chinese immersion preschool is a great option for English-speaking families who want to give their child the gift of bilingualism! Chinese is such a different language from English that unless a child learns it at a young age, he will never master it: For instance, as we age, our brain loses the ability to hear the different tones that denote meaning; without being able to readily hear the tones, we are unable to speak the language in way that’s easy for native speakers to understand.
Chinese immersion preschool is also a good option for children who have at least one Chinese-speaking parent to retain their Mandarin skills beyond the toddler years. Many families who speak a language other than English at home report that children lose their motivation to speak the language once they are surrounded by English in preschool. By surrounding your child with Mandarin language and Chinese culture throughout the formative preschool years, you will increase the chances that he will continue to speak Mandarin for life.
The Chinese preschool program in Irvine will open in September of 2014, and we are now accepting waitlist placements; enrollment applications will be sent to waitlisted families by February 2014. As our school won’t be open for a while, we encourage you to tour at either the Irvine Lake or Irvine San Marino campus. You can also attend one of our upcoming language immersion events.
Do you want more details or have questions? View our detailed Mandarin immersion FAQ, which addresses questions from why we are teaching traditional characters to how to best transition children into this new environment.
- Full Mandarin Chinese immersion in a Montessori environment. Both the head teacher and the assistant are native Mandarin speakers, and speak only in Mandarin with all students and with each other. Our goal is for children to understand and speak Mandarin; for English-speaking children, we recommend enrollment as young as possible to achieve this goal.
- English language expert teachers work with children ages 3 ½ and up for a few hours each week on English language skills, to ensure full bilingualism.
- We will use traditional characters and zhuyin (bopomofo) to teach Chinese writing and reading. We will introduce bopomofo early, starting around age three or four, during the children’s “sensitive period” for language learning. Our goal is to enable children to phonetically read simple Chinese sentences, and to recognize 30-80 traditional Chinese characters by the end of the third year of primary (the equivalent of traditional kindergarten).
- A Chinese cultural environment. From equipment in the Practical Life area to stories and songs, from celebrations to art, our campus will have a strong Chinese cultural influence.
- Program enrollment is open to all children who will be between 18 months and four years old when they start school. Older children may be admitted if they have sufficient Chinese skills and/or come from a strong Montessori background. Read more about admissions criteria here.