Abercorn leading the way in Mandarin
Mandarin is the fastest growing taught language across America. At the forefront of this trend, Abercorn International School in Lakeway, has been teaching Mandarin to all their students, from ages 2.5yrs – 11yrs, for the past two years, with excellent results.
Our resident Mandarin teacher, Mrs. Haihai, said, “One of the parents came to me last week, saying that her daughter had asked for water in Mandarin at a birthday party. This kind of result, where the children are switching and thinking between languages, is what we aim to achieve at Abercorn.”
“We believe that learning Mandarin should be a fun experience for the children. Since it is a character based language, we integrate a lot of various teaching methods to get the children interested and enthused. Singing songs and role playing for instance get the students interacting in a natural and playful manner. We also bring in cultural aspects like making Chinese arts and crafts, celebrating holidays like the Lunar New Year and storytelling. This helps develop a more well-rounded appreciation and experience in dealing with a unique language at an early age.”
Head mistress, Grainne O’Reilly, believes that children need to be exposed to learning new languages at an early age to gain maximum long lasting impact.
“ Learning an additional language before the age of nine ensures that the linguistic part of the brain develops what is called a neural constellation ; this means that the knowledge or skills acquired are never lost and can be picked up, even later in life, in a way that would be impossible if the learning had not happened at such an early stage.
She said that Mandarin was chosen to meet the growing global needs of today’s world economy which she believes will impact the children when they come to embark upon their professional lives.
Mrs. O’Reilly said, “Fundamental to thinking, communicating and self-expression, language permeates all aspects of Abercorn’s curriculum, and we start our children at 2.5yrs.”