New program aims to teach young students Mandarin Chinese - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

New program aims to teach young students Mandarin Chinese

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Elementary school education is expanding to include the Mandarin language at Forest Hills Global Elementary.

Starting with the 2014-2015 school year, Forest Hills will add a Mandarin Chinese Immersion program if they have at least 20 kindergartners signed up.

Officials say the slots will be filled on a first come, first serve basis, with students in the Forest hills district given top priority. However, students from other areas are also eligible for the program.

Forest Hills already has a Spanish Immersion Program that has students speaking the language fluently.

"The child's brain is more susceptible to accepting a second language right now," Principal Deborah Greenwood said. "It is a global society that we live in, and we are preparing our kids for that global society as they move on from high school and college to careers they'll eventually have. So, this is an optimum time, kindergarten; so far, we are seeing fabulous results with our kids."

Officials say they chose Mandarin because it's a language that is spoken by nearly 1/5 of the world's population, and it offers a lot of economic opportunities for their students' future careers.

Immersion program applications are available online at under "Items of Interest" or for pick up at Forest Hills. The deadline to apply is March 1. 

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