It's 'Ni hao' Not 'Hola' Here | NBC 7 San Diego

It's 'Ni hao' Not 'Hola' Here

The San Diego Unified School District added a Chinese language program at Barnard Elementary in Point Loma that's free and available to anyone.

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    It's 'Ni hao' Not 'Hola' Here

    One in five people in the world is Chinese.

    That, combined with China's increasing influence in the world makes Mandarin Chinese one of the most popular languages to learn.

    Some of San Diego's youngest are getting a head start.

    A large percentage of San Diego parents want their children to learn Chinese in school according to a recent survey.

    It's Ni hao Not Hola Here

    [DGO] It's Ni hao Not Hola Here
    The only magnet school of its kind in San Diego County offers immersion in Chinese - something many San Diego parents say they want their children to learn.
    (Published Friday, June 12, 2009)

    So the San Diego Unified School District answered that call by adding a Chinese language program at Barnard Elementary in Point Loma that's free and available to anyone.

    The Mandarin Chinese Magnet School is the only one in San Diego County.

    At Barnard, students take a 45-minute Chinese class 4 days a week, among their other subjects.

    "We are learning a language of investment. We are learning a language of global competition that's up ahead in the 21st century. We are very outside the box,” said principal Edward Park.

    Students - of all different ethnicities - absorb the language.

    "At this young age, they have no fear. And when the teacher makes the learning environment stress free, relaxing, fun and interesting, all of them will blossom," said teacher Sally Lowe.

    Barnard Elementary plans to immerse their students even further in Mandarin Chinese by teaching other classes, like math, science and history in Mandarin, so the students can gain a broader understanding of the language.

    Other schools, like Dana Middle School and Helix Charter High School offer Chinese language classes, but this is San Diego Unified School District's first Mandarin Chinese magnet program.