Confucius Institutes – we have one at the University of Utah – are great resources for immersion programs. They help build curriculum, sponsor cultural events and work with the Hanban, a division of the Ministry of Education in China, to furnish scores of immersion programs with veteran, native-speaking teachers.
Working with a Confucius Institute three Head Start chapters in Portland are now doing Mandarin immersion, according to the Oregonian. Head Start programs are government-subsidized preschools for low-income children.
An excerpt from the Oregonian article:
“These three Albina Head Start classes, at the McCormack/Matthews Center in North Portland, are the tiniest representations of the Confucius Institute, with teachers paid and sent over by the Chinese government to spread the study of the language. There are 400 Confucius classrooms around the country – more in Oregon than anyplace else – teaching Chinese in elementary and secondary schools.
And in one Head Start program.
‘China has a saying,’ says [one of the teachers] Jiang, ‘from three years old, you can see your future.'”
Utah schools rely on dozens of Hanban teachers. But there is no shortage of supply. Perhaps this is a good option for schools wishing to start immersion kindergarten programs.