- Will my child be at a disadvantage if our household does not speak Chinese?
- What are the advantages of a bilingual education?
- How can I assist with schoolwork if I do not know the Chinese language?
- Why is your program in Cantonese and not Mandarin?
- How is the Chinese Heritage School different from other Chinese schools?
- What are the academic expectations of the students at Chinese Heritage School?
- How involved do parents need to be?
- What are the ages of the students?
- Who are the teachers?
- What textbooks are used?
- How long is the school year?
- What are the school hours?
1. Will my child be at a disadvantage if our household does not speak Chinese?
No. The majority of our students are born in the U.S. Some parents might speak and write fluent Chinese, but others are themselves second generation immigrants. Our school survey revealed that most of the students do not usually speak in Chinese at home.
Recognizing this phenomenon, teachers might supplement the teaching using English as needed. In addition, CHS has developed a “Chinese as Second Language” curriculum where teaching is conducted primarily in English.
2. What are the advantages of a bilingual education?
A bilingual education enhances youngsters’ learning capacity and intellectual capacity. A bilingual education also provides students with a valuable foundation for advanced learning and international career opportunities.
3. How can I assist with schoolwork if I do not know the Chinese language?
Since most of our families do not speak Cantonese regularly at home, our teachers will prepare homework that children can do with minimal assistance from parent. Most classes provide Jyutping (Cantonese pronunciation) handouts to aid the studying. Audio files with reading the chapters are available on the school website. Nonetheless, parents’ show of interest in the child/ren’s homework, encouragement in their studies, brining the child/ren to school on time and participating in school activities have all proven to be important factors to foster positive learning attitudes.
4. Why is your program in Cantonese not Mandarin?
There are only a few Cantonese schools and almost 30 Mandarin schools in New Jersey. Cantonese is the second most popular language of China, and is the most commonly used language in other Asian countries. The goal of the Cantonese class is to encourage the students to take up the interest in learning Chinese language so that they will continue to explore the Chinese cultures when they grow up. We also believe that for a child with Cantonese speaking family, learning Cantonese will provide a more productive experience.
To help expose students to Mandarin, CHS provides Mandarin( Putonghua) lessons to 7th and 8th grade students.
5. How is the Chinese Heritage School different from other Chinese schools?
The Chinese Heritage School offers a series of Chinese Language classes design specifically for children growing up in the United States. These classes will be taught in Cantonese utilizing textbooks created by the teachers and/or purchased from Hong Kong. The students will learn to read and write traditional Chinese characters and converse with Cantonese during class. The classes are designed to be fun and interesting, not force-feeding. Cantonese Conversation classes are also part of our special outstanding program.
Our teaching objectives and principles are established based on our years of unique experience gained from teaching Chinese as a second language in the US. We are parents ourselves and understand the special challenges of trying to carry on Chinese heritage to the next generation. Therefore, in addition to the regular language class, we also emphasize on verbal conversation, Chinese Culture and family values. Our intention is to create a fun environment where our children are motivated to study Chinese language, and feel proud to be Chinese.
6. What are the academic expectations of the students at Chinese Heritage School?
Upon finishing the series of classes, the students will expect to be able to read a simple novel or Chinese newspaper and carry a daily conversation.
7. How involved do parents need to be?
Parents are expected to participate and support school fund-raisers, and volunteer about 6 hours per semester. We strongly believe that parent involvement is a major factor in a student’s academic performance. Parent’s interest and encouragement is critical.
8. What are the ages of the students?
A child must be at least 4 years old for admittance to CHS. We do not have upper age limit for enrollment. Classes are from Lower Kindergarten (age 4+) through Advanced/Leadership program (typically 14, 15 years old). Students in CSL (Chinese as Second Language) classes usually start at age 7.
There are also Special Interest and cultural programs for adults.
9. Who are the teachers?
CHS teachers are loving and experienced educators. One third of our teachers have over 10 years of experience in teaching Chinese in New Jersey. It is this enthusiasm that bonded us together to devote ourselves for this meaningful cause. All teachers speak fluent Cantonese and English, and some also fluent in Mandarin. The teachers work together collaboratively as a team, and share teaching ideas and materials frequently.
10. What textbooks are used?
Most classes use textbooks purchased from Hong Kong (elementary levels). As of Fall 2010, teams comprised of teachers, parents and staff, under the leadership of Mrs. Anna Chu, Directory of Kindergarten classes, have created and published the textbooks for the two kindergarten levels. Another team of teachers is in the process of creating the textbooks for first and second grades. The reason for going through the tremendous efforts of developing our own textbooks is just so that we can tailor the contents to meet the needs of students growing up in America, include more conversation topics, and arrange the chapters to better match the school calendar.
11. How long is the school year?
The fall semester usually starts on the second Saturday of September, and spring semester usually ends with a graduation ceremony on the second Saturday of June. Normally, there are 33 days in a school year, including a “Field Day” in October. Please check the school calendar for details.
12. What are the school hours?
School meets on Saturdays. Language classes start from 9:30am and end at 12noon. Student cultural classes, if enrolled, start from 12noon and end at 12:30 or 12:45 depending on the program.
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