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October 9, 2007

Diversity as Normal as Speaking Chinese

&Michael Winerip: At the ripe old age of 3, Sidney Kinsale is in her second year of learning two foreign languages. She attends a preschool here on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays where she learns Chinese. Then on Fridays, she goes to a second preschool in Scotch Plains where she learns Spanish.

“I’m not sure she’ll totally get it all,” says her mother, Carlene, whose college degree is in early childhood studies. “But our hope is she’ll have a love for language and continue Mandarin and Spanish until she’s fluent.”

The Kinsales are not alone. The Mandarin preschool here, Bilingual Buds, has grown to 110 students from 10 in three years. The Scotch Plains school, Little Lingoes, which opened 15 months ago, now serves 50 students, ages 1 to 8, teaching Spanish and Mandarin.

But while the Kinsales are delighted with the language training — Sidney was at a backyard birthday party recently, swinging and counting in Mandarin, when a Chinese-American woman commented on her “perfect” accent — that is not the only reason the parents like the two preschools.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at October 9, 2007 12:00 AM
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