Thursday, August 24, 2006

Florida Kindergarteners Learn Chinese

Mill Creek Elementary starts to learn Chinese
Right along with coloring, Mill Creek Elementary School kindergartners are learning Chinese, and they're taking to it fast.

May Huang was hired to teach the Chinese classes. She is a Chinese American. In just weeks, Huang has taught these young students a handful of Chinese words.

"They are like little sponges," Haung said. "I say one thing, I don't necessarily have to teach it to them, and they remember!"

Five-year-old Randy McGill already knew a little Chinese because he visited China when his family adopted a baby girl.

He smiled and said, "That's where I got my baby sister."

Huang and Principal Don Campbell believe they're preparing the students for a global economy where China is fast becoming a major world power. Plus, they believe learning Chinese helps students learn English.

"Chinese is a phonemic language where every character represents a part of sound," Huang said. "It's all monosyllabic. For the kids breaking up the sounds actually reinforces what they're learning in the classroom."

Campbell said Mill Creek is the first elementary school in St. Johns County to teach Chinese. Huang is also teaching it to students in the first and second grades at Mill Creek.

As for Randy, he said he'll eventually talk Chinese to his adopted sister. With as much certainty as a five-year-old can muster, he added "but I'll have to wait until I'm older to teach her."

For now, he'll work on the kindergarten basics with Huang.


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11:15 AM  

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