Driscoll's Chinese ProgramDriscoll School is the only school in Brookline, and one of very few in the country, to offer a Mandarin Chinese program in kindergarten through 8th grade. The program started in 2000 under the auspices of the Freeman Foundation, which worked with us to develop the program and fully supported it for seven years. Since 2008, the program has been funded by the Brookline Schools as part of the World Languages Program. All children in grades K – 2 have three 20 minute Chinese classes per week, and in grades 3 – 5 it increases to three 30 minute classes per week. In grade 6, students have 3 times 45 minutes Chinese classes per week. In grades 7 and 8, students may elect Mandarin as their world language course and have daily 45 minute Mandarin classes.
The K-5 World Language Learning expectations are based upon the 5C’s of the National Standards for Foreign language: Communication, Cultures, Comparisons, Connections and Communities. Mandarin teachers, Lan Wu(Grade 5-8) and Wan Wang (Grade K-4), together with the K-8 Curriculum Coordinator for World Languages, have developed a proficiency-based curriculum, focused on what students can do with language, grounded in culture. This curriculum builds a solid foundation in oracy, the partner of literacy in language, learning. From Grade 6, students officially learn Chinese characters reading and writing. Huan Ying textbook is used in Grade 7. By the end of the Grade 8, students are expected to finish Huan Ying vol.1. If they continue Chinese in high school, they will start Huan Ying vol.2.
At all grade levels, there are many hands-on projects, such as learning Chinese crafts, calligraphy, and cooking. In addition, children learn about Chinese art history and music. Each year, we hold a glorious schoolwide celebration at Chinese New Year, which serves as an exhibition of knowledge for all grade levels. Children perform songs, recite Mandarin poetry, and present dances. The middle school students will host the celebration and organize the performance.