With dual-language immersion programs being introduced at a very young age these days, the Paradise Valley School in Casper, Wyoming started a program for its kindergarten class this August. Forty-two kindergartners spend half the school day learning math and science in Mandarin Chinese and half the day reading and writing in English.
The program is the first of its kind in Wyoming and is taught by Anastasia Li. Ms. Li begins class by exchanging greetings with students and, except for their names on the seat written in English, Li only speaks to her students in Mandarin Chinese. “A lot of stuff they won’t be able to speak,” Li says. “But they will be able to understand. I speak, speak, speak. I don’t really need to tell them, like an adult, what each word means.”
Chairwoman of the Wyoming Dual Language Immersion Steering Committee says, "to be able to give kids in Casper the opportunity to not only learn a second language, but to learn about a second culture, I think is critical to preparing students for the future”.