Chinese Bilingualism in Summer Semester

The goal of the bilingual Chinese experience is to combine learning language for functional interpersonal communication, and learning language through student passions. Learning experiences will be centered around the same three main stands as the English-only classes: intellectual curiosity, creative expression, and sports and wellness – but in the context of Chinese being the primary language for instruction and communication.

Students will be in multi-age groups according to language proficiency at the novice or intermediate level. Each group will be led by SAS educators at a ratio of 1:10. Our goal is to provide an engaging, customized and personalized learning experience for every student. At both the Novice and Intermediate language levels, we aim to expand access to words and phrases at each child’s level. We will be expanding vocabulary for the group as a whole, while also providing time for individual interest exploration.

Learning through the use of the Chinese language will happen throughout the day: in the classroom, during lunch and recess, through interest-based activities, and field trips. The appropriate use of technology will facilitate and enhance individual student learning. We look forward to having students share their learning on the final day of each two-week session with families.

What will a typical day look like?

The start of each day will be Chinese circle time as a class. We will talk about the plan for the day, introducing some common vocabulary and phrases, and singing songs. Then individuals or small groups have time to work on their personal projects, supported by the teacher. Following this, we will have Wellness and Creativity classes, both of which will be taught bilingually with Chinese and English-speaking instruction. Finally, we wrap up our day in a closing circle time in Chinese to summarize learning and make plans for the next day.

There will be a lunch and two recess breaks throughout the day. At lunch, students will interact with Chinese teachers and SAS cafeteria staff in Chinese.

In the weeks leading up to Summer Semester your child will be asked to complete an Interest Inventory. This will explore their hobbies, strengths, interests, goals and passions. Your child will be asked such questions as:

  • How long have you learned Chinese?
  • Do you speak, read and write Chinese?
  • How do you learn best?
  • What are your favorite subjects in school?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • What sports or hobbies do you enjoy?

The purpose of this is to allow our teachers to design lessons, projects, and customize a learning experience that we know will appeal to your child. Our flexible daily schedule means that we can cater for projects that extend over days.

The bilingual Chinese experience will be a challenging and fun way for children to stretch their interpersonal communication, and use of Chinese beyond their current level.

NOTE: Students must have completed a year of kindergarten to enroll in the elementary Chinese program.

Benefits of Chinese Bilingualism


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most spoken language in the US


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listening skills in foreign language learners than their monolingual peers


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of two languages help children solve logic problems and multi-task more efficiently


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at focusing on a task while tuning out distractions

Sample Schedules

Elementary School

9:00 a.m.Communication and Interaction: Goals and Activities of the Day
Interactive communication, community building, stories
9:30 a.m.Exploration: Chinese Language
Books, projects, group and individual work, puppet shows, Chinese calligraphy, Chinese martial arts, Chinese dance and movements, Chinese cooking, Chinese arts and crafts.
10:30 a.m.Break
11:00 a.m.Art and Creativity
Our specialist art teacher will be working with us each day at this time on creative projects. Instructions will be conducted in Chinese.
12:00 p.m.Lunch Break
12:40 p.m.Stories
1:00 p.m.Wellness and PE
Our specialist PE teacher will be working with us each day at this time on wellness activities. Instructions will be conducted in Chinese.
2:00 p.m.Summary of the Day and Reflection
Capturing the learning journey of the day by blogging, journalling, recording, and using presentation slides.

Middle School

9:00 a.m.Mentoring Time
Relationship-building, executive functioning skills, developing DSLOs.
9:20 a.m.Morning Wellness
Choice of any of the listed Sports and Wellness courses.
10:00 a.m.Break
Snack and creative outdoor play.
10:20 a.m.Block 1
Choice of any of the listed Intellectual Curiosity and Creative Expression courses.
11:00 a.m.Block 2
Choice of any of the listed Intellectual Curiosity and Creative Expression courses.
11:40 a.m.Lunch Break
12:25 p.m.Block 3
Choice of any of the listed Intellectual Curiosity and Creative Expression courses.
1:05 p.m.Block 4
Choice of any of the listed Intellectual Curiosity and Creative Expression courses.
1:45 p.m.Break
2:05 p.m.Afternoon Wellness
Choice of any of the listed Sports and Wellness courses.
2:45 p.m.Flex
Reflection and check-in with academic mentors.

Intellectual Curiosity

  • All Aboard the STEM Train
  • Digital Breakout
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fantastic Formulas
  • Helping People – Changing Minds
  • Mad About Marketing
  • Math Boot Camp
  • Mathemagicians
  • MythBusters
  • Nature Rescue
  • Perfect Presentations
  • Public Speaking
  • Service to Earth
  • Social Experiments in Psychology
  • Talking TEDx
  • Teaching with Infographics
  • The Art and Science of Cooking
  • The Great Debate
  • The Pi Squad
  • Woodlands into Wall Street

Creative Expression

  • Gaming Unplugged
  • Getting into Graphic Novels
  • Let's Make Music!
  • Lights, Camera, Action!
  • The Picasso Within
  • Viral Videos
  • Young Adult Literature Goes to Hollywood

Sports and Wellness

  • Climb It
  • Collaborative Games
  • Healthy Meals Made Easy
  • Guided Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Personal Best Physical Challenges
  • Swimming
  • Yoga

Meet the Teachers

Paul Haakenson

Paul Haakenson

Elementary Novice Chinese

Ni hao!” My students call me zhāng lǎo shī (张老师). I was born in the US but have lived or worked in Scotland, Denmark, Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. I have been teaching Chinese to non-native speaking learners for eight years now and I love it! It is a remarkable feeling to hear students’ language expand over time. Working with the younger learners keeps me feeling young as well. My wife and I have raised two kids bilingually. Our new labradoodle dog Kaya only understands English, we think.

In the classroom, my greatest hope is that learners can experience success in a relaxed, supportive and fun way. Through the use of pictures, puppet shows, games, activities, and story-telling, learners can confidently communicate at their level.

Shuna Sun

Shuna Sun

Elementary Chinese

Ni hao! It is such a rewarding experience teaching Chinese to students during summer as I move around with students to PE, art, recess, cafeteria, and other activities than my own Chinese class. The content and context of this approach largely enriched the Chinese experience both for students and myself.

I was born in China and moved to Singapore 15 years ago. Having worked as an English teacher for 10 years in China and a Chinese teacher in Singapore for 14 years, SAS is truly a place where your dreams come true, both children and adults. I love all the children and everything we do together at SAS.

Tzung-Mei Jang

Tzung-Mei Jang

Middle School Chinese

This is my fourth year working as a speech language pathologist in SAS. Second language acquisition has been one of my passions personally and professionally.

I have worked with Chinese/English bilingual students for nearly 20 years, from public schools in Los Angeles, Taipei American School, Jakarta Intercultural School, to Hong Kong International School. Growing up speaking Chinese as a mother tongue and later learned English as a third language in Taiwan, I am raising my own children, ages 14 and 11, bilingually.

My goals for the students in the middle school Chinese class is to enjoy the learning process, feel comfortable using the language at their own levels, and to apply their Chinese language skills. I am very much looking forward teaching students who are ‘learning Chinese and loving it’ in Summer Semester!

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