OC Schools To Offer Mandarin Chinese Lessons To Kindergarteners

MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — A school district in Orange County will soon offer classes for students as young as kindergarten to learn Mandarin Chinese.

Trustees for the Capistrano Unified School District trustees approved the county’s first-of-its-kind Mandarin Chinese language program on Monday.

The immersion program will be created by district staff in time for the 2012-13 school year.

Students who choose to attend it will begin their studies in kindergarten or first grade with 80 percent of instruction in Mandarin.

“A challenging economic environment is no excuse for not being able to offer new and innovative educational programs requested by our community,” school board clerk John Alpay said. “There is intense demand for this
language.”

At least 165 families have committed their children to the Capistrano Unified program, district officials said.

Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world with over one billion people fluent in the language.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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