Chinese Immersion Experience

In today’s interconnected world, we know it is more important than ever for our children to better understand the world around them. Singapore American School is proud of our Chinese language immersion program, where elementary school students work toward fluency while building the foundation for continued academic success.

Through the program, students have language opportunities integrated into every moment, allowing them to gain high level mastery of the language and truly become engaged global citizens.

Benefits of Bilingualism

Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. 

Bilingual children have been shown to be better than their monolingual peers at focusing on a task while tuning out distractions

Studies have shown that all foreign language learners develop on average better listening skills than their monolingual peers. 

Research shows that people who are bilingual from a young age have greater densities of gray matter in areas of the brain associated with language processing

According to research, mastering two languages help to solve logic problems and multi-task more effectively

Students will go beyond simply learning the language. They will use the language for learning.

Integration of Immersion Classes

The Chinese immersion program was launched with two immersion kindergarten classes in 2017–18. These classes will roll forward each academic year bringing the program across kindergarten through fifth grade by 2022–23.

Academic Year grade level
2017–18 two kindergarten classes launched
2018–19 two first grade classes added
2019–20 two second grade classes added
2020–21 two third grade classes added
2021-22 two fourth grade classes added
2022-23 two fifth grade classes added

75/25 Immersion to 50/50 Bilingual Program

The 75/25 Immersion Model to the 50/50 Bilingual Model at SAS

Kindergarten and First Grade

75% Chinese: Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts
25% English: English Language Arts (ELA), Art, Music, PE

Second and Third Grades

60% Chinese: Math, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts
40% English: ELA, Art, Music, PE

Fourth and Fifth Grades

50% Chinese: Social Studies, Science, Language Arts
50% English: ELA, Math, Art, Music, PE

What does the 75/25 Chinese and English Exposure Model look like?

  • Chinese immersion instruction, instead of once-daily Chinese instruction
  • Professional, exemplary world language teaching staff
  • Chinese-speaking instructional assistants
  • Professional development and classroom training for teachers
  • Common SAS curriculum, with linguistic adaption for this program
  • Service learning opportunities where elementary school students communicate directly in Chinese

Exciting possibilities


Zara has been learning Chinese since she was two, but she's never been willing to speak. In her first week of immersion she just naturally blurted out several things in Chinese, so her confidence improved almost immediately.

Louise Donaghey, SAS PARENT

What Will Immersion Students Learn to Do?

Communicate directly with English and Mandarin speaking communities on a variety of levels.

Gain the cultural competency of one who knows what it is to have two inner worlds based in the roots of two different languages and values.

Practice critical thinking that will allow them to analyze conflicting messages or information between languages and come to reasonable conclusions.

Develop deep character, with the ability to understand two different value systems and ways of life.

Collaborate with Chinese and English speakers and create bridges between communities to the benefit of both.

Creatively bring together their two language worlds in new and exciting ways through a variety of media.

Through content knowledge the curriculum for the immersion program is fully aligned with the SAS elementary curriculum.

Immersion Beyond Elementary School

Middle School

  • Competency to thrive in core subjects taught in English
  • Higher level language courses available as electives
  • Integrated language courses (now in development)

High School

The Chinese Immersion Teachers

We know that student success is directly tied to quality teaching. In addition to being highly skilled, SAS teachers and instructional assistants are dedicated to connecting with students and engaging them at every point in their learning.

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Who should apply

Fluency in English is strongly recommended for incoming kindergarten immersion students. Prior exposure to Chinese language is not required.

Joining the immersion program at Singapore American School is a commitment. We ask that parents are willing to make a commitment to read English books with their children everyday at home.

We accept applications year round and enrollment is dependent upon meeting language requirements and space availability.

How to apply

For current SAS families with a child in our early learning center, contact Zhao-Hui Xu for immersion placement information.

For new SAS applicants, you will indicate your official interest in immersion in the admissions application process. Applications for new families will be considered based on priority lane, date of application, and completeness of application, and are subject to thorough review for general admission to SAS.

For more information, contact