Why parents choose immersion schools?

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(KTSF by Jo Wan)

1. Why parents choose immersion schools?

Immersion programs are becoming more and more popular for parents in the United States and are considered one of the fastest-growing foreign-language programs available in U.S. schools.

In May, we visited two immersion schools in the Bay Area. One is the Claire Lilienthal Korean Immersion Program in San Francisco while the other is San Mateo ‘s College Park Mandarin Immersion Program. College Park ‘s PTA held the biggest event of the year: International Day on May 19. Families brought a dish to donate from their native country and wore traditional costumes. Students at Claire Lilienthal Alternative School wore Hambok and danced to traditional Korean dance at the school’s morning assembly.

When asked why they enrolled their kids in an immersion program, some parents said they want to raise their children to be bilingual. Some parents want their children to have cultrural experience during their primary school education. Some simply want their kids to be able to speak their parent’s native language so they can communicate with grandparents.

Some parents were initially fearful that immersion may delay their child’s English language development. They said it turned out to be the opposite. They all agree that becoming bilingual opens the door to communicate with more people in more places.

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This project is a collaboration of New America Media (the nation’s first and largest network of ethnic news services–if you wan to add), San Francisco Chronicle/SFGate.com and KTSF Television (a local Asian-language station–if you want to add). We launched the project with the idea that telling each other our stories would encourage communities to talk about common goals.

KTSF will air the stories from Monday, July 2nd through Wednesday, July 4th in the Chinese language, live newscasts at 7pm and 10pm. The stories are also available on the KTSF website. The story will be published in San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Insight section and posted on SFGATE.com on July 2nd. New America Media will also publish the story in English and Chinese, along with a short video, on July 1st.

To read the story on SFGate.com, please visit:

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/S-F-parents-opt-for-language-immersion-for-kids-3673897.php

To view the video or read the story in Chinese on New America Media, please visit:

http://newamericamedia.org/2012/07/sf-korean-immersion.php

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