Chinese on Menu for Elementary Kids

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Chinese on Menu for Elementary Kids

Postby long_way » Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:08 pm

Chinese on Menu for Elementary Kids



Spurred by separate pushes by the U.S. and Chinese governments, more schools in Greater New York have begun offering—even requiring—the study of Mandarin at the elementary level.

Starting this month, Manhattan's New Explorations Into Science, Technology and Math, or NEST+m, replaced Spanish with Mandarin for kindergarten through fifth grades. Some city elementary schools, such as PS 310 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, have launched Chinese bilingual programs aimed at native Chinese speakers. Others, such as as PS 20 on the Lower East Side, have opted for dual-language programs, where half of the class is fluent in English and the other half is fluent in Mandarin. The programs this year add to about 25 bilingual and dual-language ones that already existed in the city, according to Matthew Mittenthal, city Department of Education spokesman.

"Mandarin is a language that has symbols that are very different than our written language," said Olga Livanis, the principal of NEST+m, a K-12 gifted-and-talented school on the Lower East Side. "The more difficult, the earlier a child needs to learn it."

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