By David Purtell
Edited by Sarah Robbins
Ask Maggie, a second-grader at East Point Academy, to count to 10 and she'll happily do it – in Mandarin.
Her teacher, Michelle Sun, says it's time for math. On the whiteboard are both Arabic numerals and Chinese characters. Sun starts speaking in Mandarin – "one plus one equals two" – while pointing to the numerals, and students repeat the phrase "Yi jia yi deng yu er."
Earlier in the year, they learned how to say numbers in Mandarin; now they're learning how to say "plus" (jia), "minus" (nia) and "equals" (deng yu). Seeing the Arabic numerals while hearing the teacher say them in Chinese lets students associate words with visuals.
Now enrolling: the state’s first public charter school to immerse young children in the Chinese language.
East Point Academy is just outside of Columbia, but open to students statewide. Chinese investment and involvement in the South Carolina’s economy
is more than most of the states in the country. With the Confucius Institute at the University of South Carolina helping, Mandarin can be offered the same way French and Spanish have. Parent and planning board member Rick Kest says learning this language has proven to have other benefits:
In other states that have similar programs, the students academically far outstrip the other students in all areas. The closest one is in Charlotte Read More right now–they have a Chinese immersion program. And the students score not only in the top in the state in math and science, but also in English. So they do better even in English than other students.
Confucius Institute launches state’s first immersion charter school
Published March 10, 2011
The Confucius Institute at the University of South Carolina is helping to launch South Carolina’s first Chinese immersion charter school.
East Point Academy, on Knox Abbott Drive in Cayce, is expected to open in August.
Columbia SC to get Mandarin immersion
March 10, 2011
Wednesday, Mar. 09, 2011
USC helps launch Mandarin Chinese immersion school
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina’s Confucius Institute is helping launch a Mandarin Chinese immersion school that opens in the fall.
USC spokeswoman Peggy Binette said Wednesday the Institute is helping arrange for five teachers from China to serve on the faculty at the state charter school.
Instruction will be available for 4-year-old and 5-year-old kindergarten as well as first and second grades. Additional grade levels are expected to be added each year to the Cayce school.