Students Learning Chinese in Delaware - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Students Learning Chinese in Delaware


MAGNOLIA, Del.- Singing and playing is a big part of the day for kindergartners at McIlvaine Early Childhood Center. But at this school, half of the day is spent learning in Chinese.

And that's exactly how Brandy Reilly wants it for her daughter.

"Lexi would have been bored in kindergarten if she just went to regular kindergarten," she said.

Lexi is one of approximately 100 children in McIlvaine's Chinese immersion program. She spends half the day learning in English and the other half learning exclusively in Chinese.

"When we're out she never just points to something and says red, she'll say the Chinese color for it all the time, it's almost like second nature for some things," Reilly said.

So far things are going well.

"Sometime they'll come in and say 'nee-how,' that's how you have to say hello and goodbye to me and I'll say, 'This is the English classroom, you have to say hello in here'," said English teacher Candic Castro.

The students get to practice their Chinese with their Chinese teacher, she tries not to speak English to them at all.

"Just in this four months, they have learned a lot of songs and they learn so many subjects and phrases in Chinese," said Chinese teacher, Wei An.

The children learn, science, math and social studies in Chinese.

"Any content they're teaching, we have to front-load the information or afterwards we're doing the review in English," Castro said.

McIlvaine is one of three schools involved in the language immersion program in Delaware but next year, seven more schools with become a part of the program:

Spanish Immersion Programs

  • South Dover Elementary School (Capital School District, Kent County)
  • Pulaski Elementary School (Christina School District, New Castle County)
  • Blades Elementary School (Seaford School District, Sussex County)
  • West Seaford Elementary (Seaford School District, Sussex County)

Mandarin Chinese Immersion Programs

  • Downes Elementary School (Christina School District, New Castle County)
  • Wilbur Elementary School (Colonial School District, New Castle County)
  • New Castle Elementary School (Colonial School District, New Castle County)


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