What is Little Tiger Chinese Immersion Program?
Little Tiger Program is a full-time, 4-5 day/week Chinese immersion program, unique in the Austin area. Our school year runs from early September through late-June.
Immersion is a method of language instruction in which the regular school curriculum is taught through the “target language.” In Little Tiger, the Chinese language is the vehicle for teaching subject areas including practical life, language arts, math, science, and the arts. Our primary goal is to create a fun, creative, interactive, and challenging environment in which children flourish physically, socially and cognitively.
Immersion education is a proven method of language learning that exposes children to the “target language” (Chinese) in an intensive, sustained, and regular fashion. Benefits include:
- Immersion education mimics the way in which young children acquire their native language, taking advantage of their natural capacity to absorb and adapt to their daily language environment.
- Immersion allows students to acquire the target language faster and more effectively than traditional foreign language learning contexts, which are more appropriate for older language learners.
- Students also develop increased cultural awareness, which helps them to develop important traits such as open-mindedness, tolerance, respect, and inclusivity.
- Research studies indicate that mastering another language has significant, life-long benefits on cognitive development.
Unlike “Romance” and “Germanic” languages, Chinese has sonic qualities, vocabulary, and grammatical structures that are very different from the English language. This makes it very stimulating and exciting to young learners, who quickly adapt to their new language environment.
More broadly, Chinese is spoken by nearly one fifth of the world’s population. China has a very large cultural diaspora, with Chinese speakers living in many countries around the world, including the US. We live in an increasingly interconnected world; China has many political and economic ties with the US.
Our family does not speak Chinese. Is this a problem?
Not at all. Little Tiger, like all CWM programs, is designed for non-native speakers of Chinese.
Even if you do not speak any Chinese, there are many ways you can support your child’s learning. For example, we recommend that you:
- Make a long-term commitment to immersion education.
- Communicate closely with our teaching staff.
- Volunteer in your child’s classroom from time to time, to show the importance of education to the family.
How will my child learn to read and write in English?
Our teaching staff works with parents to provide guidance and resources that they can use to help their children develop English language reading and writing skills when the time is right. This is the main way in which we ask families to supplement their child’s education outside of the classroom.
Why ages 3-6?
During this stage, children still possess what some researchers have called “the absorbent mind.” This means that they have the unique ability to absorb and adapt to their language environment without substantial effort. Unlike older children and adults, they don’t require constant explanations in order to understand the grammatical structures of the Chinese language – they adapt to these structures through regular exposure.
Why mixed ages?
The curriculum is differentiated by age, meaning that each student will receive individualized attention that matches his or her pace and maturity. Experience has taught us that mixed-age grouping invites cooperation and allows children to help each other. Older children develop their leadership skills, responsibility for others, and pride in themselves by assisting their younger classmates. Younger children learn from their older peer models. By following the older children’s example, the younger children are able to challenge themselves and take on increasingly complex tasks.
Who are the teachers and what are their educational and professional qualifications?
CWM believes in hiring exceptional teachers. Members of the Little Tiger teaching staff possesses extensive classroom experience, master’s degree level training in foreign language education, and expertise in early childhood education. Little Tiger teachers also possess all the skills and credentials necessary to meet the needs of young children, including CPR and First Aid certification.
What percentage of class time would you say is expected to be in the Chinese language?
In Little Tiger Program, teaching in the classroom is nearly 100% in the Chinese language. (Students will also have a 45 minute Spanish class each week.) Students will naturally ask questions in English, particularly at the early stage of their enrollment. In most cases, teachers will respond in the Chinese language, using physical gestures, pictures, and visual cues to provide additional context.
What can I do for my child’s Chinese education after Little Tiger Program?
Chinese with Meggie offers a variety of programs for elementary age learners. Graduates of Little Tiger Program can continue to develop their strong foundation in Chinese by enrolling in our Advanced Elementary Immersion Program. In this class, students continue to refine their speaking and listening skills while also learning to read and write in Chinese.
What else can we do for our child’s language education?
Chinese with Meggie offers a two-week summer camp in Beijing, which allows parents and students to have a sustained language and culture experience in China. The camp is open to children 5+ years old. Our Chinese partner school — East District Youth Lake Elementary School — is one of the top-rated schools in Beijing. All students 5+ years old are welcome to join the camp.
Do you have after-school extended program?
Yes. Students have the option to enroll in our CWM after-school immersion classes. Call 512-380-9552 or email us at email@example.com for more information.
How do I schedule a tour?
Dates of school tours are listed on each page of our website. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you plan to attend. Please call 512-380-9552 or email us with any other questions. Thanks!