One of my biggest things has been enrichment programs and bringing them into the school. I spend a lot of my time working with outside agencies, bringing them in and providing music, dance, theater, arts. We just finished [Tuesday] our second-grade dance performance on the Lunar New Year.
We have CookShop, which is a different program where the kids cook for three months out of the year and they learn all about food, cooking, nutrition and where their food comes from. They have hands-on experience.
Kids need to learn how to make themselves happy. It is not just through academics, it is also through the arts and finding enriching things, and it is also making sure your body is healthy.
How does the bilingual track at the school work?
We follow a 50:50 model where one class is learning English and one is learning Chinese and they switch every other day. The subjects are the same those two days, but we don't repeat the content. The teacher builds upon what the other teacher taught the day before, just in a different language.
Half of the students are native English speakers and half are native Chinese Mandarin. Then we can use each student in the class as a language model for their own language.
What are some of the challenges you have faced with the dual-language program since it began three years ago?
For parents of students who are native English speakers, it is access to the language. If your child needs help with the language at home, you have to figure out how to do that without knowing the language. I think there is a feeling of helplessness for the parents wanting to help, but not knowing how. Chinese characters are no joke. You really have to practice.
I think for Chinese parents their biggest worry is 'are my children getting enough English?' So it is really just managing these concerns and preparing parents.