Hear about our current families’ experiences at Yu Ming and their wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and reasons for choosing our school (from March 2012):
My son is a 1st grader at Yu Ming this year and the school has turned out to be way more than we expected. I’ve worked for startups before and sort of looked at our joining this community as joining a startup. The enthusiasum from the kids is certainly there. The energy of the teachers is tremendous. And we have been embraced by the strongest parent community I have ever been a part of. My son is thriving academically, has made great friends and it is clear that the teachers all know him well and are able to engage him in ways that amaze me. He did not speak Mandarin when school started though I do and now he and I converse only in Mandarin at home.
– Kelly Scribner, 1st grade parent
We have two children attending Yu Ming and we are very happy with their progress in each and every subject. Our children come to Yu Ming from a very good public school in the area and a private Chinese – English immersion school; Yu Ming’s academics are beyond both of these schools in my opinion after witnessing my kids’ experience and progress.
– Iris Wang, 1st grade parent
As an African American family with no previous Chinese language exposure, we feel like the school is doing a great job in motivating all the children to learn and embrace the immersion environment, when it’s such an adjustment to so many of them. It’s difficult to compare the academics with an English-language school because of the difference in trajectory, but if the accepted research on language immersion stands true, and the stated school principles and current level of parent involvement continue, I’m confident that we’ll outpace the performance that we would have achieved at any of our [other school] options. It’s a major leap, committing to a school for 8-9 years, but we’re going to do everything we can to make a success of it.
– Randolph Belle, Kindergarten parent
We have two children in Yu Ming and are very happy with the school. Because it is a new school there is quite a lot of excitement among the parents and staff, and there is a sense that we are working effectively at something important for our children and our collective future in California and the world (as trite as that may sound!). The academics are great and our kids are academically challenged as a first graders at YuMing. Children at various levels are differentiated at the school and all are challenged. The teachers are outstanding and I as a parent marvel at the young school’s first class administration and recruitment of such fine teachers. There is a great involvement of many parents, only partly out of obligation but far more from a sense that we are involved in something special for our children. Mandarin development is amazing and our kids went from reluctantly participating at a Chinese after school program last year to being near fluent now halfway through the school year, and being able to read and write many characters.
– Joe Wiemels, 1st grade parent
Two things I love about Yu Ming:
1. Principal Laura is FABULOUS! Warm, loving, funny . . . and whip-smart. Excellent leader for our school.
2. The parent community is amazing. The level of parent involvement is stratospheric, and everyone is just relentlessly dedicated to making Yu Ming a successful school. Honestly, I feel lucky to be part of this very special community….
– Devra Nelson, 1st grade parent
I was born in Taiwan but grew up in suburban Virginia, near DC. I know from firsthand experience how easy it is to forget a language if it is not used regularly. I came to the United States unable to speak a word of English, but it didn’t take long before I started to forget much of my Chinese, something I now regret. It’s great if Chinese is spoken in the home, but I think that getting the language and culture reinforced more formally at school is important.
– Sarah Yang, Kindergarten parent
I was born and raised in a small village in England. My husband Lindsay is of mixed race, Jamaican and Chinese, born in Jamaica and raised in Toronto and Florida. Having mixed-race children it was always important to us that they have a multicultural education. We are looking for a school that is more academically rigorous and that fosters critical thinking as well as the importance of the larger community. We feel that the immersion model at Yu Ming, combined with its strong emphasis on moral values, will provide what we are looking for. This is a big shift for us as no one in our family speaks Mandarin. It does feel like a leap of faith into the unknown! However we feel that giving our children the chance to develop bilingual and bicultural skills is a great gift that will open up different opportunities for them.
– Melissa Lee, 1st grade parent
Being a product of failed weekend Chinese schools and finding the ease with which my younger cousins picked up languages from birth, I decided to speak to my son in as much Mandarin as I could, which wasn’t too much. I also researched into language schools and read a lot about immersion language programs. I became a firm believer in immersion education for language learning and especially early exposure in the targeted language. I have been excitedly supporting Yu Ming as soon as I found out about it. All my past experiences led me to believe that most children will lose the ability to hear and speak the different tones and nuances of the targeted language if not exposed to it before puberty, if not earlier. I believe that the gift of language and education is one that will last a lifetime.
– Christine Wu-Dittmar, 1st grade parent