"My boys are currently enrolled in Language Garden and have been there since January 2014, shortly after the school opened. For us, this has been one of the best decisions we have made for our kids.
We are a bilingual family and really try to speak Mandarin at home. Having the split Mandarin and English classrooms really provide the boys with a great foundation in Mandarin while preparing them for our local public school kindergarten this fall.
For starters, the teachers are experienced, professional, creative and really pay attention to even the smallest details. I truly feel that Ms. Caroline and Ms. Henderson really care about and adore the children. They set a wonderful tone to how kids should treat one another and it really shows. I can't tell you how many times Ms. Caroline or Ms. Henderson pointed out something new and interesting in my kids' behavior or progress. They are calm and loving yet firm with the children. They are also great listeners and very open to suggestions and recommendations. Ms. Caroline and Ms. Henderson worked with us to come up with a plan to help one of the boys improve his fine motor skills when that became necessary. They also met with me to work out the best class placement for the boys when it became apparent that it would be best to separate them. I always felt as if I can go to them with any concerns and be heard and that they have the best interest of my child in mind. My boys feel safe and loved at school.
In addition to Ms. Caroline and Ms. Henderson, we also really like the teaching assistants, Ms. Chih-Ying and Ms. Perez. They are friendly and caring toward the children.
The classrooms are clean, comfortable, well situated and sunny. The teachers have done a lovely job creating an inviting space for both fun and learning. I love how the kids have plenty to explore everyday. The boys love to point out the new crafts or decorations on the walls at drop off. The playground, albeit a bit small, still allows the kids to have fun outdoor play.
One thing that is really special about Language Garden is how many fun and thoughtful activities Ms. Caroline plans for the children. From the Thanksgiving feast, Valentines' Day, to a spectacular Lunar New Year Party, the kids always have special activities to look forward to. Often times, the parents are invited and it is always a real treat. My boys still talk about the time when the Reptile Man visited and they got to meet some really awesome live reptilian friends!
In terms of academics, I must say that the kids are learning much more than I ever expected. My boys have a deep love for books and are extremely interested in natural sciences. Ms. Caroline and Ms. Henderson really feed their desire to learn with interesting lessons and hands on experiments. I am a huge proponent of letting the kids explore their own interests and giving them plenty of time to play while they are young. As an avid reader, I also spend a lot of time reading to my kids. However, imagine my surprise when one of the boys came home with a BOB book and began reading it to me. (I was thrilled when I found that he learned his alphabet but I did not expect that he would be able to read so quickly) Now both boys are reading Chinese books using the bopomofo system. The good thing is, I don't feel that the kids are being pressured to learn. Rather, I attribute their progress to the ability of the teachers to know what each child is capable of doing and encourage and teach accordingly. In our situation, one child needs plenty and constant challenges to keep him interested while the other requires a lot of gentle encouragement to continue to stay on task. The teachers are providing just what is needed in each case.
The boys are in separate classrooms and have formed some beautiful friendships with other children in their respective class. They are attached to their buddies and even remember which days their friends go to school and especially look forward to those days. My sons come home with all kinds of stories about playground drama and how they resolved a conflict (or not). It is fascinating to see how social skills are developed even at this early age.
We were looking for a place with great teachers, good environment and the opportunity for the boys to learn more Mandarin. But with Language Garden, we got so much more! The boys are having a blast, learning lots of important life skills and well prepared for kindergarten. We could not be happier with our choice."