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Volunteer brings Mandarin language to life in preschool program

Volunteer teaching students Mandarin

This month, Cooley Early Childhood Development Center, welcomed a volunteer from Taipei, Taiwan. The Higley Unified School District’s Mandarin Exploration Preschool seeks native Mandarin speakers to volunteer in the Kinder-Prep classroom on a regular basis to help students as they practice their new Mandarin skills.

“We needed a native Mandarin speaker to volunteer because we were not able to find an Early Childhood Mandarin Teacher. The volunteer will work alongside the teacher to provide instruction in Mandarin to the students,” Higley Early Childhood Development Director Patti Gleason said.

The first volunteer, Jenny Ho, a local resident, is originally from Taipei. She said she is gaining experience working with Mrs. Sarah Biemfohr’s Kinder-Prep class. By observing the teacher’s technique of teaching and getting a feel for the classroom atmosphere, Jenny is learning what a book cannot teach.

Meanwhile, the teachers and students get first-hand Mandarin lessons from a native speaker. “The children are very smart and attentive. I really enjoyed myself, and I hope to come again.” Jenny Ho said.

The District opened the “Introduction to Mandarin” Kinder-Prep class as a way to introduce young kids a new language. Students can then enroll in the District’s Mandarin Dual Language program at Coronado Elementary School in Gilbert. There, they can progress in Mandarin throughout the rest of their elementary career. The district’s middle schools in Gilbert and Queen Creek, along with the high schools, all offer advanced Mandarin courses.

Interested in the program? Registration for the 2018/19 school year will open in January.