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  • What is immersion?
    In immersion education, the majority of the regular school curriculum is taught in the immersion language for at least half of the school day. Studies show that immersion education students outperform students in traditional language classes, do as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests, and have a greater appreciation of cultural diversity.
  • Why immersion?
    1. Second language acquisition Immersion education is the most effective type of foreign language acquisition currently available in US schools. Immersion students are functionally proficient in the immersion language according to age and grade level. 2. Performance on Standardized Tests Immersion students perform as well as or better than non-immersion students on standardized tests of English and math administered in English. 3. Cognitive Skills Immersion students outperform monolinguals on tasks that use cognitive flexibility. This is a term for skills like task switching, inhibiting impulses, and solving problems. Dual language learners’ brains get an extra workout. Switching between two languages requires the brain to use inhibition and task- switching skills. It offers natural practice with cognitive flexibility skills. 4. Cultural Sensitivity Immersion students are more aware of and show more positive attitudes towards others.
  • Is Mandarin Academy an "immersion" school?"
    Yes. The core classes are taught in Mandarin, including language arts and mathematics. Mandarin Academy follows an 80-20 immersion model for grades K-3 meaning 80% of all instruction is in Mandarin and 20% is in English (including a dedicated English language arts class). For grades 4 and 5, this changes to a 50-50 model.
  • Why Mandarin Academy?
    While other Bay Area Immersion programs utilize curriculum and textbooks from vendors that only sell to American or non-Mandarin speaking clients, Mandarin Academy’s textbooks come directly from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. Theoretically, a child in any grade at MA can seamlessly transfer to a school in a Mandarin speaking country without losing a beat. Furthermore, MA teachers have developed a curriculum for the children that make learning fun and interactive. These unique features combined with very small student to teacher ratios, make Mandarin a truly unique learning experience. Students study both Mandarin and English, which are then used to learn other subjects - including math, science, art, and social sciences. To keep our students’ English level on par with public schools, we follow the Common Core Standards that public schools use, and periodically we administer the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) to our upper graders.
  • How much is the tuition?
    Tuition starts at $11,000 annually. For complete list, please refer to tuition & fees page.
  • How is your math program different from public schools?
    Our mathematics program consists of two parts: traditional arithmetic and Math Squared workbooks. Math Squared teaches logic and concepts that help children understand math at a quicker pace. Because Mandarin Academy uses textbooks from the Taiwanese Ministry of Education, Mathematics is 1-2 grade levels above California public school curriculum. For example, MA first graders master multiplication in the first grade whereas many public schools do not introduce multiplication until the third grade.
  • Do you teach Traditional or Simplified characters? What about phonetic writing systems?
    Our kindergarteners start by studying Traditional Chinese characters AND Zhuyin Fuhao System of Phonetic Notation (i.e. BoPoMoFo). Pinyin and Simplified Chinese characters are introduced in the fourth and fifth grade levels.
  • Is there an After School or Saturday Program?
    The After School Program is open to the public from 2:45pm-5:45pm Monday-Friday except school holidays. We do not offer a Saturday program.
  • Is lunch provided?
    No, students bring a picnic lunch, a morning snack, and a water bottle.
  • What is the parent volunteer requirement?
    Parents are required to volunteer AT LEAST 15 HOURS per year. A "buy out" option is also available. Please refer to our handbook. !(need link to the handbook pdf)!
  • What if parents don't know any Mandarin Chinese?
    Many families at Mandarin Academy speak little to no Chinese in the home. This is not a problem as long as the student comes to class ready to learn.
  • How much homework is sent home each week?
    We do not send home any homework for Chinese in the younger grades. Everyone takes home a Math Squared workbook each week. Kindergarteners can expect to take home an occasional assignment for English class. First graders will have a weekly spelling packet. Older students will have occasional projects, but overall the homework load is very light.
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