Since its opening in 2010, Wellesley Chinese Language School has grown considerably, with an enrollment of approximately 180 students compared to 75 students when it was founded. The school mainly focuses on teaching children Chinese language and culture to help them better understand themselves and their heritages. After 10 years, it moved from just Sunday language and art classes to a weekday after-school program. The school also offers classes in math, writing, and public speaking.
Founding Principal, Dr. Jianmei Kochling, and Deputy Principal, Helen Fang, had “a mission to increase diversity and serve the community by teaching Chinese language and culture to children from different backgrounds.” Although the school has many families and children of Chinese descent, emphasis has also been placed on growing classes for non-heritage students. About 1/3 of the courses offered are intended for non-patrimonial children.
“This school has been extremely useful for our daughter because learning another language so distinct from English has helped her in her intellectual development, even beyond the language itself,” said Laurent Rotroff , parent of a non-Chinese student. “She excels in several areas at school, which we can partly attribute to her learning Chinese.”
In order to obtain a quality education and to help students achieve a high level of success in learning, the school values small classes of less than 12 students. In class, teachers use active and engaging learning methods such as word games, stories, songs, etc.
“Even for children of Chinese descent, learning Chinese is not an easy journey because they can only speak, not read or write,” Kochling said. “They need to learn from the start and our school has provided these students with a grounded place to learn.”
In addition, the students also formed strong relationships and friendships within the class. For many students in the Chinese AP classroom, they have known their peers since first grade, growing and learning alongside each other. For Jean Wu, a parent of two children who attend the school, it provides “a precious opportunity for the children to bond” and, as a result, “they have made invaluable friendships over the past 10 years”.
Wellesley Chinese Language School emphasizes that learning Chinese language and culture isn’t all it offers. Multicultural education allows students to adopt a more inclusive vision and to acquire a state of mind and a global awareness. Moreover, the school’s management team is convinced that the dedication and hard work required to learn Chinese will teach students to learn with passion and achieve their goals. The school has “created a value system for students,” said Ally Jin, treasurer and one of the board members.
Undaunted by the pandemic, the school quickly adapted to an online program. Although remote, they have made a significant effort to ensure students continue to thrive while learning at home. The school will remain remote during the fall semester and the leadership team and staff members are excited about the positive experiences students have with spring online learning.
Registration for Fall 2020 is open – please visit the school website at http://welleselychineseschool.org or email [email protected] with any questions.