The Forest Hills Public Schools Mandarin immersion program is the first of its kind in West Michigan. The program began in 2008, bringing together Eastern and Western culture in order to provide a rich academic, linguistic, and cultural experience for students. Today, we celebrate the program’s growth with 460 students enrolled!
Learners in grades K-4 experience a 50/50 One-Way Immersion Model. Upon entrance to grade five, the program shifts to an intensive Mandarin Language & Literacy Block, designed to build upon the K-4 base and further deepen oral speaking, listening, reading, and writing capacity in Mandarin.
In the 2017-18 school year, students enrolled in the Forest Hills Public Schools Mandarin Chinese immersion program began working on their Chinese language college minor thanks to an agreement signed between FHPS and Western Michigan University Extended University Programs. The dual enrollment program is housed at Forest Hills Northern High School.
Read more about the WMU Collegate Pathways program
Chinese Immersion Tour Dates
- Tuesday, December 6, 2022, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
- Friday, December 9, 2022, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
- Thursday, January 12, 2023, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
- Friday, January 20, 2023, 9:30-10:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Register today for a tour of the Chinese Immersion Program at Meadow Brook!
Chinese Immersion Enrollment Dates
November 28 – December 16, 2022
New Family Enrollment
January 3 – February 4, 2023
February 10, 2023
February 17, 2023
Why Mandarin Chinese?
The U.S. Department of State recognizes Mandarin Chinese as a “critical language” for Americans.
- In 2012, China became the second largest investor in research and development, behind the United States, and, for the first time, ahead of Japan.
- American companies seek opportunities to connect with the 1.3 billion-person market represented by China.
- Tonal languages like Mandarin Chinese develop a bilateral network between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.
- Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world.
- Mandarin Chinese is among the most used languages on the Internet.
- Mandarin Chinese is a gateway to a rich culture with over 5,000 years of history.
What is Language Immersion?
- Language immersion is growing as a community of language learners.
- Language immersion is guided by the pillars of dual language immersion educational philosophy.
- Language immersion is grounded in our school district’s vision of all learners achieving individual potential.
K-12 language immersion programming is designed intentionally to provide learners with time and intensity in a target language to encourage bilingualism and bi-literacy. Students experience daily core content instruction through the means of a target language. As part of this content instruction, students acquire skills unique to the target language, with the overarching goal of developing student performance and proficiency over time. This means that the language is not the sole content of instruction itself, but rather it serves as the vehicle through which content knowledge and skills are accessed and engaged.
FHPS Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program
The Forest Hills Public Schools Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program was the first of its kind in West Michigan and has a record of success. The program began in 2008, and today we celebrate the program’s growth with over 460 students enrolled.
The Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program begins at Meadow Brook Elementary School. Learners in grades K-4 experience a 50/50 oneway immersion model. This means that students spend 50 percent of their time in Mandarin Chinese, and 50 percent of their time in English. In the early grades, students are taught Mandarin Chinese by way of our reading and writing focus, math exploration and kindergarten experiences. Children participate in the kindergarten curriculum through developmentally-appropriate activities that encourage social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. While immersion uses Mandarin Chinese as the vehicle for teaching some core content areas, we also focus on vocabulary development and embedded language-specific activities to build proficiency in Mandarin Chinese.
Upon entrance to grade five, the program shifts to an intensive Mandarin language and literacy block, designed to build upon the K-4 base and further deepen speaking, listening, reading, and writing capacity in Mandarin. Students who continue through the program will attend Northern Trails 5/6 School, Northern Hills Middle School, and Northern High School.
Goals of Language Immersion
- Achievement of grade-level Michigan Academic Standards/FHPS Curriculum Standards
- Attainment of high levels of target language performance and proficiency
- Awareness, appreciation, and sensitivity for world cultures
A Day in a Mandarin Chinese Immersion Kindergarten Classroom
Although no two days are the same, a kindergarten Mandarin Chinese immersion student would experience the following as part of classroom instruction:
- Calendar time;
- Songs/dances/movement activities;
- Math instruction and math centers;
- Whole group and literacy instruction;
- Small reading groups;
- Independent reading centers;
- Chinese character formation practice;
- Center time—includes listening to Mandarin books on CD and using iPads with Mandarin apps to practice writing;
- Fun engagement activities to inspire young minds and encourage exploration; and
- Recess, lunch, media center, computer lab, art, and physical education are incorporated.
What Parents Say
“Putting our daughters in the Mandarin Immersion Program was a very easy choice for us. First, learning any second language is a benefit to children. Second, because speaking, reading, and understanding Mandarin will benefit them as they enter adulthood and the work world.”
‘My child has been in the program for six years, and we continue to be amazed by his level of linguistics and writing in Mandarin. So many incoming elementary children and their parents have the unique opportunity to have their children immersed in a language program that most families have to pay thousands of dollars for. It’s a ‘win’ for our district, community, families and students.”
“Initially, we were reluctant to pursue the Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program. Upon the urging of friends, we visited Meadow Brook and had the opportunity to see the kindergarten students in action. We were amazed to see them follow along and participate in class given their limited time in the program. With cautious hearts, we decided to sign our daughter up for the program. The first few weeks were challenging, but soon she came home with phrases and songs in her new language and her confidence grew. She is now in first grade, and is able to carry on a conversation in Mandarin!”
For more information about the Mandarin Chinese Immersion Program, including enrollment information, please click here. Or call Lisa Peabody at (616) 493-8740 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.