Open House Saturday 11/12/2016

Open house Saturday 11/12/2016 from 10:00am to 12:00pm.

We are looking forward to meeting everyone!

See you Saturday!

Posted in updates

Typical Week 2 (SPORTS!)

With the weather warming up and days getting sunnier, our theme last week is SPORTS (运动)! Both the teachers and the students were very excited about this theme because at the end of the week, we had our own iMandarin Olympics! By incorporating the Olympics into the sports theme, we were able to teach the students a lot more about sports then simply playing ball.

For our Olympics, the kids first took turns carrying the Olympic torch to start our opening ceremony. Even the littlest student (2.5 yrs old) was able to participate carrying the torch. We then practiced for our main event, the relay race. The race started with the youngest one carrying the baton, and it was passed from youngest to oldest. The kids all did their best to run as fast as possible around the center. In the end, team iMandarin school won the race! Each students got a trophy (which they made and decorated themselves) and a GOLD medal. It was a lot of fun.

Carrying the Olympic Torch

iMandarin Olympics! Opening Ceremony.

It was only pretend, but as teachers we couldn’t help but feel proud of our kids as they stood together on the podium to get their medals. They really are doing great and growing up to be good little people.

Below was our lesson plan for the week.

Language – Conversation:
今年 Olympics 在巴西。很多运动員代表国家參加比赛。
你长大也要代表国家嗎?
哪一个运动?

Language – Written Vocabulary
运动,打球,跑步,足球,体育,棒球

Special:
Olympics. We spent the week teaching the kids about the Olympics. We discussed the events, and the athletes and how they are the best of each country. As the week went by, and the kids learn more their excitement grew. On the last day of the week, we had our own Olympics with opening ceremony, events, and medal awards. We picked the relay race as our main event as all the kids can participate and they all had to work as a team.

Physical:
Baseball. Teach the students about baseball and let them try hitting the ball. The youngest students hit the ball off the T. The older kids got to try hitting the bean bags that the teacher gently tossed to them. (After a few misses, the kids were able to hit the flying bean bags!)

Physical:
Soccer. This one all the kids seem to know how to play 🙂

Physical:
Basketball. We practiced basketball using the Fisher Price basketball hoop.

Arts:
Make and decorate trophies. Use 2 cups and pipe cleaners to make a trophy. Then decorate with drawings and stickers.

Social:
Good sportsmanship. We read stories about sports and competition. We use the stories to teach the kids about good sportsmanship. We emphasized that all the kids are good at something. Some are good at running and some are good at jumping, etc… We also taught, it is ok to lose, you don’t have to cry. Also we should follow the rules and no cheating in competition. You shouldn’t brag when you win, and lastly it is important to work as a team.

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Our first online review! 5 Stars (*****)

Thank you to the parent who was so kind to post our first review on Google! 5 stars, yippeee!

The kind words really gave the entire staff a boost. As I told the parent, we will keep up our efforts and continue to improve our school.

Here is the link to the review: iMandarin School Review

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Article in StarNewsWeekly (新星周刊) about iMandarin School

近日,我四岁的儿子在学校里自制了一本关于宇宙飞船与龙的故事书,回家后,他用普通话把整个故事讲给妈妈听,然后又用英语向爸爸(爸爸的中文不如英语好)说明并展示了一番,看到他流利地在中文与英语之间的自然转换让我们感到非常欣慰而骄傲,这也正好印证了我们在学校进行的浸润式中文教学取得成功!

事实证明孩子幼年开始学习两种语言并不会给他们带来困扰,双语孩子会本能地根据对话者使用的语言和对话的内容背景进行自然的语言切换。我们相信学习语言的最佳方式是由低龄开始,并有浸润式的语言环境。在美国生活的孩子们身处英语大环境下,自然习得英语相对轻松快捷,这正是我们为何致力于营造浸润式全中文环境的原因。我们的学校一月中旬才刚开业,可是现在不到三个月的时间我们已经看到了孩子们神奇的中文进步!

在全中文教学的同时,我们的办学宗旨是为孩子们提供优质的早期教育,为此我们综合了中美两国的教育资源,开发出属于我们自己的早教课程,用全中文的方式进行授课与游戏活动。在这里,孩子们不仅可以学习丰富的科学,数学,艺术和音乐知识,还能锻炼社交能力。他们将在老师的指导和带领下学会解决问题,懂得分享,依次排队,善待他人,团队合作和独立分工等各项品德和技能。

如欲了解更多详情,请登录我校官网,欢迎来电预约试课。我们招收2.5-6岁的孩子,学校开放时间为周一至周五7:00-18:00。中文普通话和简体汉字教学是我校的特色!

Recently, our 4 yrs old son created a book in our school and made up his own story about space ships and dragons. When we got home, he told the story in pǔtōnghuà to Mommy, and then he showed Daddy his book and explained it in English (Dad’s Chinese is not as good as Mom’s). He switched between Chinese and English naturally without prompting from us at all. Of course, we were very happy and proud. This really illustrates what we are trying to do with our school, that is to teach children to be bilingual. Unlike the myth that teaching 2 languages to our kids confuses them, bilingual kids are able to instinctively switch between languages base on the context of the conversation or what language the other person is speaking. To teach them to be bilingual, we believe that the best way is to start young and via immersion. We focus on Mandarin immersion because English is easier to learn and the children being in the US will natural pick up English from the environment. Our school has only been opened since mid January, but we are already seeing dramatic improvements in our students ability to speak Mandarin.

Just as important, our other goal is to provide excellent early childhood education. To achieve this goal, we design our own curriculum by cherry-picking the best from many different programs (both from the US and China) and teach the classes all in Chinese. We teach the children everything that you look for in a good daycare. We teach the students science, math, art and music as well as help them develop social skills. For example, we teach our students how to problem solve, how to share and take turns, how to be kind to others, how to work together and separately.

For more information please check us out at http://www.imandarinschool.com and give us a call to schedule a tour of our facilities. We are located near Basking Ridge NJ and we are open Monday to Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm. We enroll kids from 2.5 years to 6 years old. We teach pǔtōnghuà and simplified characters.

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Typical Week (BUGS!)

BUGS (虫) was our topic for last week. It was a fun-filled week with lots of activities the kids enjoyed. At the end of the week, the kids were able to identify the bugs and talked about how they moved using 普通话. It was great! Here is an overview of what we did for BUGS!

Grasping bugs with forceps.

Super Bug Hunter! Grasping bugs with forceps.


Language – Conversation:
这是 . . . 蚂蚁, 蝴蝶, 蜻蜓, 蜜蜂, 蜘蛛…
虫会飞, 爬, 跳, 游泳, 挖。
虫身体有什么部分?(Practice body parts again. Previous theme.)

Language – Structure:
这是 . . . (蚂蚁, 蝴蝶, 蜻蜓, 蜜蜂, 蜘蛛)
你会做什麼?
你会 . . . 吗? (飞, 爬, 跳, 游泳, 挖)

Language – Written Vocabulary
虫,飞,长,圆,角,爬。

Music – Nursery Rhyme and Song:
嗡嗡嗡,小蜜蜂,飞到西,飞到东,飞到花园里,花囩里 去釆蜜。嗡嗡嗡,小蜜蜂,飞到西,飞到东,大家唱着歌,唱着歌 去做工。

Math:
Count the insects, count their legs!

Arts and Crafts:
Lollipop Spider. We started the week with a simple one that kids enjoy because they get to eat it!

Ladybugs

Making favorite insects!

Yummy!

Lollipop spiders are yummy!

Create your favorite insect. We gave the kids their choice on which insect they want to make. We made ladybugs, butterflies, spiders, bees, and ants!

Insect stamps and find your bugs. Kids used rubber stamps of insects, and markers to create their own garden scene. Then other students had fun picking out the insects from each other’s drawing. Some students are very good at hiding those insects!

Bug hunting sandbox

Bug hunting sandbox


Science and Social:
Life cycle of the butterfly. From egg, to larva, to pupa, to butterfly.

Super Bug Hunter! With our sand table, the kids had great fun picking out the insects from the fake grass (confetti). We used small forceps so the kids can practice fine motor skills. We also stressed teamwork as the kids worked together to pick out a list of insects the teacher prepared.

Observe real bugs. On a sunny day we went out into the play area and looked for bugs with magnifying glasses. We found some ants and spiders! The kids were very excited to search for live bugs.

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Now enrolling for Summer Program!

We are currently enrolling students (ages 2.5 to 6) for our summer program which starts on July 5th and ends on August 25th. Similar to our preschool curriculum, our summer curriculum is built upon a series of themes designed to inspire your child to explore, create, and interact while learning Mandarin Chinese.
WaterPlay
Each theme contains a variety of activities including Arts and Craft, Music, Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Development. Age appropriate activities and games accompany each theme to enhance what your child has already learned. Additionally, children will participate in various cultural activities, such as calligraphy, traditional Chinese toys and games (as demonstrated by our teachers during Mount Prospect’s International Day), dramatic play, and cooking. Children will also have a great time participating in our water play and many outdoor physical activities.

For more information, please contact us and arrange a tour of our facilities.

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Simplified or Traditional

Simplified or Traditional Chinese characters? This is a question we get asked regularly during our open houses and tours. Within the school we struggled with this question, and that struggle can be seen on our website where we used to have some words written in traditional characters while some words are simplified. Our students are from many backgrounds, from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, United States, etc… Our teachers are also from diverse backgrounds. We have a large selection of story books in Chinese but the collection contains a mix of both simplified and traditional characters.

Ultimately, we decided that we will teach simplified Chinese characters. The main reason for this is when we looked at public schools that offer Chinese as an option for their foreign language requirement, the majority of these teach simplified Chinese. For example, Ridge High School in Basking Ridge is planning to teach Mandarin in simplified Chinese. Also Chinese taught in colleges tend to be simplified as well.

For the parents that are concerned about learning traditional written Chinese, let’s not forget our goal is to build a foundation of speaking and learning Chinese for our kids, and that can be accomplished whether it is in simplified or traditional characters. If it is any consolation, at the age of our students (2.5 to 6), we expect a lot of the characters we teach would be the same in both simplified and traditional Chinese.

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Class started!

We are officially open, and our class has started! Thank you to all our teachers who put in so much effort to get us ready for our students. Thanks to all our friends and families for your support and encouragement. To all the parents, we will do our best to take care of your precious little ones and provide the education that exceeds your high expectations. To our students, let us learn Chinese and have lots of fun!

Posted in Uncategorized

NJ Child Care Licensing and the LSRP Process

One of the main requirements for the licensing of a child care facility by the State of NJ is obtaining a RAO (Remedial Action Outcome) letter from a LSRP (Licensed Site Remediation Professional). To put it simply, the LSRP does an inspection of the facility + site and identifies any potential environmental hazards. LSRP are certified by the state, but are not civil workers. They are consultants from private companies. The RAO is the report that the LSRP provides to you and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. NJ DEP has very specific guidelines that the LSRP must follow to inspect the site. Any issues identified will have to be remediated, again following stringent guidelines.

The process was established in 2009 to help with the huge backlog of environmental issues confronting the DEP. With regards to daycares, it has helped to expedite the Child Care center licensing process. Also parents can rest assured all newly NJ licensed daycares have gone through this vigorous inspection process and are generally environmentally safe.

That’s the brief background on the RAO\LSRP requirement. With all the regulations, this process can be daunting for the potential daycare operator. Fortunately with some help from our friends who are daycare owners, iMandarin School made it through the LSRP inspection without any issues (although I have to admit, it took a lot longer than we expected). I would just like to use this post to share a few of our learnings from going through the process.

At where we are at, in northeast NJ, the cost of the initial inspection (the Preliminary Inspection, PA) is roughly $2500. We solicited quotes from multiple environmental firms, and pretty much everyone was around that price range. But buyers beware, after the PA is where the cost can vary greatly between firms. For example, one firm might charge $200 for a playground soil test where another firm might charge $600 per soil test. That is for one soil sample, typically you would need multiple samples per play area, which at $400 difference could add up to thousands! Also, make sure to get in writing whether there are any additional reporting fees, for example some companies will bill extra for report preparation, historical information research, reviewing blueprints etc… Some additional costs for these type of activities should be expected, but it is best to get your LSRP to give you some rough estimate of additional fees so that you don’t get sticker shock when you get the final bill. Another thing to look out for is the cost to review existing DEP records for the site. This for us involved the LSRP traveling to Trenton and reviewing old documents in the DEP archives. Again try to get an estimate of the cost and just as importantly the time required to complete the review before signing the contract.

You can also do your own research online to see if there are any previous records of DEP certifications or violations. The NJ DEP Open Public Records Act (OPRA) site is here: http://www.nj.gov/dep/opra/online.html. The site is hard to navigate, but with some persistence you should be able to pull up records base on your location. Another site that I find useful is http://www.historicaerials.com. You can review historical aerial photographs online (just as a LSRP would do), and see if the location was ever used for industry or agriculture, both of which have specific testing requirements in order to meet child care regulations.

A word about the Indoor Environment Health Assessment, IEHA. As a good daycare owner, we try to be as conservative as possible when dealing with issues of health and safety. So it is easy to get concerned about the need to conduct an IEHA. However, most new daycares will not need to have an IEHA done. The LSRP will not tell you this directly, I guess for fear of potential liability, they will only state that you have to check with the state which only adds to your anxiety. The cost of an IEHA, which the LSRP can also complete, is very high ($4000 for reporting only, add a lot more for the required tests) so keep this in mind when you are looking at an existing building for your child care center. We double and triple checked with the DEP as well as the DCF (Depart of Children’s Affairs office of licensing) and confirmed that you only need to complete an IEHA if the building had prior industrial use, or the building is co-located with a nail salon or dry cleaner, or if the building was built prior to 1978. Your town’s construction department will have records of past use for your building.

There is one indoor test that is required no matter what, and that is the test for Radon gas. In our experience, you can get the same test done by using a $50 kit from Amazon or Homedepot instead of hiring an environmental consultant to do it -which typically costs a lot more.

Finally, a good LSRP will work closely with you and be willing to answer your questions! Personally, I am offended anytime someone justifies anything with “Look, it is for the safety of the kids.” None of us would be starting a child care center if we didn’t genuinely cared about the children.

I hope some people find this article useful. Good luck!

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Top 5 Reasons to Signup

Top 5 reasons to come to iMandarin School:

1.) We teach mandarin!
2.) We make it fun, we are play focused.
3.) Large library of children’s books in Chinese!
4.) Our teachers are qualified, caring and love to play with the kids!
5.) No annual contract, simply notify us in advance if your plans change.

Furthermore: As an incentive to signup before the school officially opens, we are offering families a special introductory rate!

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