Our community is at an exciting crossroads for the next generation of learners. We have succesfully experienced Mandarin and Spanish Language Immersion programs in our local schools with extrodinary demand to keep the programs going through fifth grade and beyond!

I am the Mother of a 5-year-old girl in the Chinese program. The benefits have been astounding. Shown as early as the first week of school through her increased creativity of playing and building things, to her wall art, and caring for others. It was clear to us that a new side of her brain was awakening.

As we near the end of the first year, our 5 year old can count into her 30s in Chinese, and into her 60s in English. She can name most basic colors and shapes in Chinese, and, of course, English. She can name several objects, fruits, vegetables and animals in Chinese and sing Chinese songs. The final icing on the cake though was a couple weeks ago when she asked me, 'Mom, do you know what 7 plus 4 equals?' Then she gives me the answer! She has recently started reading in English as well.

As great a job at parenting I think I am doing, teaching her how to learn in Chinese and pick up the language too, is something I cannot do alone. I can however share our story and tell other families how wonderful this is to watch and experience with your child. The kids have fun together and they love going to school.

Just as college teaches a person how to think, so far this learning of two languages is teaching our daughter how to learn! It should be a core compenent of curriculum in every school in America, it is that important for our kids.

There is an excellent book that any person should read who is new to understanding what language immersion is, and what it does for a child. 'The Billingual Edge' was written by 2 PhD's from Georgetown University, King and Mackey. It will answer most of your questions about language programs and how language learning happens at young ages.

Lake Oswego needs to stay on top of the cutting edge of learning! Our community has fantastic people who live here that want our kids to have every advantage available to them.

Cindi Moyle, Lake Oswego, is a parent advocate for Language Immersion.

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