ISDenver offers Mandarin Chinese language instruction to equip students to navigate a global economy that is increasingly shaped by the world’s most populous country: China.
The Chinese program was added in 2003 and is supported by the Hanban Confucius Institute, affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, which gives our program the highest level of recognition. The Confucius Institute provides ISDenver with professional development opportunities for teachers, instructional materials, Chinese teaching assistants, technology, and additional resources.
Instruction is provided to our learners exclusively by native Mandarin Chinese speakers. Children spend nearly 90% of their day learning in Chinese in pre-K and Kindergarten (K1-K2 as pre-K, K3 as Kindergarten), with English lessons progressively added until Grades 3-5, where learning evens out to approximately 50/50 between English and Chinese. In the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (MYP) for Grades 6-8, learners who choose to continue their Chinese studies (or start at the Novice level) spend as much as 30% of their time engaged in language acquisition, both in classes focused on language learning and in Social Studies classes taught in Chinese. MYP students also have the opportunity to add a third language to their studies, which opens the door for students in the other immersion programs (French and Spanish) to learn Chinese as well.
All learners in the Chinese program participate in the annual Chinese New Year Festival, which includes a dragon parade, lion dances, and class-wide performances showcasing their advanced learning skills. The school is also proud to be a sponsor of Colorado's Annual Dragon Film Festival and has previously been a partner in Colorado's Dragon Boat Festival.
5th grade learners enrolled in the Chinese program travel to China with our faculty for two weeks each year. During this time, they learn history at Tiananmen Square, visit the Great Wall of China, visit Chinese schools and engage with the students, and navigate the country using their advanced language skills.
Chinese program learners may elect to participate in the YCT (Youth Chinese Test) for Grades 1-4 or the HSK (Chinese Proficiency Test) for Grades 5-8, which are tests administered by Hanban to gauge the level of Mandarin language in foreign learners of the language. The school also offers test preparation courses for the YCT and HSK and is an official testing site for Hanban.
Those who have knowledge of Mandarin and Chinese culture, history and societal values will be uniquely qualified to contribute to the United States’ cultural, economic and political well being.