1. ENGLISH READING ISN'T TAUGHT UNTIL 3RD GRADE: I will admit that while I knew English reading wasn't a heavy focus in the Chinese Immersion program, I just recently found out that it isn't even taught until 3rd grade. This honestly came as a HUGE shocker (it is, however, highlighted on the Minnetonka Public Schools' website). I only discovered this information after I noticed Linna struggling to read simple words in our bedtime storybooks each night. So, I contacted her teacher to see if Linna was also struggling to read at school, and was told that they don't teach English reading in Chinese Immersion until the 3rd grade. At every information session, as well as kindergarten orientation, the "parents' commitment to English reading at home, every day for at least 20 minutes", was strongly reinforced. Now, I know why.
|2-year-old Linna on her first day at Pasir PanjangChurch Hill Nursery School in Singapore|
2. CHINESE IMMERSION IS A MAJOR COMMITMENT: This commitment begins in kindergarten. A student can't enroll in the Chinese Immersion program after kindergarten. While any parent can make the decision to remove their child from Chinese Immersion, it's a decision that is discouraged, and a decision that comes with consequences (specifically, the strong possibility of the student having to play "catch up" in school).
|3-year-old Linna on her first day at Dulwich College|
(British Chinese-Immersion school) in Singapore
So, you may be wondering if we will enroll Jimmy in Chinese Immersion when he starts kindergarten. Well, right now our answer is "yes". Jimmy's older sister is exposing him to the Chinese language at home, he's in Linna's classroom with me quite often, and we'll continue to expose him to the Chinese language and culture as we participate in Chinese school events, as well as other cultural experiences in the community. However, if Jimmy isn't ready, or doesn't seem interested in learning a second language, we'll reconsider our current plan for him.