Early Childhood Chinese Immersion Forum 2018

Changing the World One Child at a Time
How Chinese Immersion Benefits Preschool Kids

Enjoy a gallery of photos from ECCIF 2018Early childhood is an especially critical time for language learning, giving even more urgency for Chinese immersion educators to access one another and the collective wisdom of practictioners in this exciting, developing field. In partnership with a fantastic group of peer schools (see Planning Committee listing), CAIS hosted the first annual Early Childhood Chinese Immersion Forum (ECCIF) for educators in Chinese immersion preschool and kindergarten programs to network and learn from one another. The forum included a keynote presentation by renowned language educator Helena Curtain, breakout sessions led by conference participants, roundtable discussions, and networking opportunities. We were thrilled to gather early childhood educators to discuss topics and share best practices in Chinese immersion in these critical, formative years for students.



Breakout Sessions

Here is a general overview of the day-long forum.

Session Title


Session Description

Bookmaking in Chinese and English classes: Supporting Emergent Writing in a Dual Immersion Program

Britta Pells, Angie Brooks, Tingting Fu, Ping Xue


In this session we will outline and discuss why and how we began bookmaking in the English and Chinese classrooms. We will talk about the triumphs and challenges we have encountered and share how we were able to integrate bookmaking into our classrooms. We will share samples of our student’s work and have time for questions and answers.

Building Social-Emotional Resilience in a Reggio-Inspired,  Mandarin Immersion Context

Shih-Pei Chen


This presentation is an overview of

- challenges and opportunities in developing social and emotional resilience in a Mandarin immersion setting

- personal practices in supporting social-emotional development - developing emotional awareness and empathy, creating a supportive and accepting environment, building strong relationships with and between children.

- questions to continue exploring.

Tinkering, Making and Design Thinking in the Chinese Immersion Classroom

Chu Hsi Tseng, Portia Yang, Hsiao Yu Chang


In the stage of Early Years, children are often engaged in open-ended tinkering and making setting that extend their problem-solving and creative thinking skills. Through the design process, children figure out how things work, and attempt to build and make creations using a variety of tools.

In this workshop, participants will learn how to apply tinkering and design thinking to Chinese instruction. With examples of using different approaches, such as class discussion, storytelling, dramatic play, and hands-on activities, participants will be ready to start implementing tinkering and design thinking in their own classrooms.

From Recognizing First Radical/Character to Reading

Jingyao Qi (Level Chinese), Jean Zhu (CAIS)

Level Chinese provides K-12 Chinese literacy program designed for second language learners.  For early years, we provide a structured and data driven approach for teachers to help students recognize first characters, frequently used in early year themes, through understanding of radical and function.  Our structure also help teachers transition students from recognizing individual characters to reading the first sentence.  We will share example books, games and online assessment to illustrate our offering.

Differentiated Instruction in the Language Classroom: Learning Stations

Kelly Chen, Muning Ren

(Better Chinese)

Differentiated instruction plays an essential role in effective teaching, which helps teachers to engage students by accommodating their different learning levels or styles. In well-designed learning stations, students participate in activities that help them see curriculum subjects in real-time, hands-on ways. In this session, participants will explore: What is the learning station? How to empower students to work on various tasks simultaneously? The presenter will share their thoughts on the meaning of doing learning stations and how to conduct it through analyzing the Better Immersion curriculum.  

The Journey of Journal

Ying Liang


The presentation is started with a simple teacher research project of doing dictations of children’s drawing, and later on it move into the idea of creating an authentic property (a journal book) with children, and using it as a tool to promote language acquisition in school and at home. The journal book serves the purpose of a language tool to promote children’s language development, build up friendship, a documentation tool of school and home fun experiences, as well as a communication tool between teachers and parents. Besides, the presentation also puts an emphasis on teachers become practitioners in the classroom, through doing teacher research to inquiry into children’s learning, we learn with children.

Building a Sense of Civic Responsibility in the Early Years - Challenges and Opportunities in an Immersion Setting

Cecilia Lee


This presentation is an overview of a service learning project implemented with a group of 4- and 5-year old children over six months. It highlights the importance of integrating learning across different subjects, empowering children to direct their learning, connecting them with authentic audiences, and providing them with the language and tools to achieve their goals. Through the project, the children learn and use Mandarin as a communication tool in writing, speaking and singing. Throughout the project, the children planned, designed and marketed a series of fundraising events to serve an organization that supports children and families in the foster care system.

Language Acquisition in a Chinese Immersion Setting

Que Yi, Chien-Hsuan Chen, Queena Zheng

(Shuren school)

How to expose Chinese to toddlers in an immersion environment; How to support 3-5 years old children’s Chinese learning in an inquiry based program.

Integrated Language and Science in a Chinese Immersion Classroom

Rui Fan; Sally Mao

(Barnard Asian Pacific Language Academy)

Understanding science concepts and learning academic vocabulary are challenging to students in a language immersion program. In this session, the presenter will spotlight the animal unit in the Kindergarten science curriculum and share with the audience how she designs science curriculum aligned with core standards. Step by step, the presenter will also demonstrate in depth how she integrates language into science lessons through proficiency-based instruction and self-developed readers to help students with their comprehension and language acquisition. At the end of the session, the presenter will  share how online leveled reading platform, iChineseReader, is being used to help students achieve their academic goals in reading skills and content learning. 



主讲人 Keynote Speaker

Helena Curtain, Ph.D.Changing the World One Child at a Time Through Chinese Immersion
How Immersion Benefits Preschool Kids

Keynote Speaker Helena Curtain’s presentation addresses important questions and topics including: 

  1. What is the research on the benefits of bilingualism?

  2. How do pre-school children learn a second language?

  3. Literacy development for immersion students.

Helena Curtain, Ph. D. is an internationally known expert on second language teaching methodology, curriculum development, and bilingual education who has worked as a language educator at all levels. She is the co-author of Languages and Learners: Making the Match which has been translated into Chinese. She has received several national and regional awards and has authored numerous articles dealing with second language instruction. She served as Foreign Language Curriculum Specialist for the Milwaukee Public Schools for many years and in that capacity coordinated and supervised K-12 foreign language, immersion and ESOL programs. She served as associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and directed the Foreign Language and ESOL teacher preparation programs. She has broad experience working with schools and school districts, teaching and conducting workshops throughout the United States and internationally in thirty-nine countries.






For More Information 

Contact info@eccif.org


Contact info@eccif.org




China Sprout

iChinese Reader

Level Chinese



Cristina Calcagno
Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Professional Development
CAIS, San Francisco 

Kevin Chang
Director of Chinese Program
CAIS, San Francisco

Cindy Chiang
Nursery-8th Chinese Academic Dean
International School of the Peninsula |
Ecole internationale de la Péninsule |
半島國際學校, Palo Alto

Britta Pells
Early Childhood Division Director
CAIS, San Francisco

Yi Que (阙宜)
Pre-K4 Class Teacher & Preprimary Director
Shu Ren International School/An IB World School, Berkeley

Eve Wu
Kindergarten Teacher
Yu Ming Charter School, Oakland