Currently, we are a Chinese preschool (click here for more info). We will add Spanish language to our program very soon at our new location (3181 Packard Rd, Ann Arbor).
1). Chinese and English are very different:
Human have the ability to recognize and produce more than 100 phonemes, but English has only 44 of them. There are many phonemes in other languages that are not in English. It's very important for humans to learn the phonemes as many as we can when we are as young as possible. And, it’s better to choose a language that is more different from English.
Chinese and English are very different. The biggest difference: Chinese is a tonal language and English is not. The tones have to be learned at a young age in order to master them.
2). Chinese Speakers Use More of Their Brain Than English Speakers
If you speak Mandarin, your brain works differently. That’s according to a recent study published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. The report is the first to conclude that those who speak tonal languages like Chinese Mandarin exhibit a very different flow of information during speech comprehension, using both hemispheres of the brain rather than just the left, which has long been seen as the primary neurological region for processing language.
“…although speech processing is largely carried out in the common left hemisphere classical language areas (Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas) and anterior temporal cortex, speech comprehension across different language groups depends on how these brain regions interact with each other. Moreover, the right anterior temporal cortex, which is crucial for tone processing, is equally important as its left homolog, the left anterior temporal cortex, in modulating the cortical dynamics in tone language comprehension. The current study pinpoints the importance of the bilateral anterior temporal cortex in language comprehension that is downplayed or even ignored by popular contemporary models of speech comprehension.”
PNAS, vol. 112 no. 10, (2014), “Cross-language differences in the brain network subserving intelligible speech”, <http://www.pnas.org/content/112/10/2972.abstract>
3). Other Reasons:
--China is the second largest economy in the world.
· ---China is one of largest trading partners of the United States.
· ---Many US companies do business in China and have long-term investments there.
· ---China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old.
· ---China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people.
· ---One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
I-------in addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.
Research Findings: Second language study:
· …benefits academic progress in other subjects
· …narrows achievement gaps
· …benefits basic skills development
· …enriches and enhances (early) cognitive development
· …enhances a student’s sense of achievement
· …helps students score higher on standardized tests
· …promotes cultural awareness and competency
· …improves chances of college acceptance, achievement and attainment
· …enhances career opportunities
· …benefits understanding and security in community and society
Regarding World Language Education, NEA Research, (December 2007), “The Benefits of Second Language Study_Research Findings with Citations"
Why Start At A Young Age?
"By 6 months of age, however, infants show preferences for phonemes in their native language over those in foreign languages, and by the end of their first year no longer respond to phonetic elements peculiar to non-native languages. The ability to perceive these phonemic contrasts evidently persists for several more years, as evidenced by the fact that children can learn to speak a second language without accent and with fluent grammar until about age 7 or 8. After this age, however, performance gradually declines no matter what the extent of practice or exposure".
Neuroscience. 2nd edition, (2001), “The Development of Language: A Critical Period in Humans”<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11007/>