The Yinghua Academy Lower School program was founded on the desire to encourage students to develop intellectual curiosity and critical thinking skills, as well as broad and deep knowledge in language arts, math and science, social studies, and the arts – all while studying Mandarin Chinese.
At Yinghua Academy, we strive for excellence in education, respect for diversity, and strength of character. We provide a rigorous academic program centered in language immersion and cultural literacy. Our caring and dedicated faculty, staff and administration work together with our parents, community partners and School Board to create a safe, healthy, rewarding and fun learning environment for our students.
The five core principles of Yinghua Academy guide our work with elementary school students: Safety, Speak Chinese, Study, Happiness, and Global Citizenship. Every day, students are reminded of these principles at Morning Meeting, where they gather for thirty minutes before classes to enjoy songs, dances, exercises, character education, announcements, and school spirit.
Instruction in the Lower School is rooted in an “early total foreign language immersion” environment. Based on research of effective immersion programs:
- Students in grades K-1 receive full content instruction in Mandarin, including math, science, social studies, and Chinese language arts/culture.
- Students in grades 2-4 continue Mandarin immersion in these content areas, but have the addition of 300 minutes per week of English Language Arts.
- Students in grades 5-8 shift to 50% English, 50% Chinese over the course of a week, to prepare them for high school.
- See our curriculum page for complete details, including curriculum maps by grade and subject area.
Student achievement on standardized tests proves that this method works. By third grade, immersion students consistently outperform non-immersion peers on statewide assessments of English and Math.
Students develop good work habits by having homework once a week in kindergarten, and an appropriate, increasing amount of daily homework for their age in grades 1-8.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LOWER SCHOOL PROGRAM
– Character education built into the curriculum
– Dynamic, interactive classrooms with many songs, gestures, and movement
– Music, Art, and Physical Education classes
– School library containing the largest collection of Chinese books for young students in Minnesota, in addition to over 1,000 books in English
– Field trips and artist/expert residencies built into the curriculum at every grade level, including ongoing partnerships with Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Northern Clay Center, and the Science Museum of Minnesota