On February 16, the Vancouver school board voted unanimously, in principle, to start Mandarin learning in at least one elementary school by September 2010, B.C. Parents for Mandarin spokesperson Lara Honrado told the Straight. This follows similar steps taken by North Vancouver and Burnaby, which will both start Mandarin in some kindergartens over the next two years, she said.So why Mandarin and why now? According to the article
Vancouver sits across the water from economic tigers China and India; the city was built on Coast Salish land; and in several Vancouver neighbourhoods, Chinese is the mother tongue of more residents than English or French.And aside from demographics and proximity to China there are many other factors that are encouraging parents to push for more Mandarin bilingual programs.
Suzanne Nelson [is] a member of the newly created Burnaby branch of B.C. Parents for Mandarin. Nelson describes herself as Caucasian and speaks English and high-school French. Her three-year-old son, Josiah, is half Chinese and speaks, so far, English. She would like him to grow up speaking Mandarin. First, she said, so he can communicate with his peers. Second, because it’s his heritage language. Third, to open a world of career opportunities to him when he grows up.As more cities begin to embrace bilingualism and education in more than one language they will need to look at other models. So what cities out there have already figured it all out? Is there such a place? The search begins for the city with the best bilingual school system.
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