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The 20th century has sometimes been referred to as America's century. The United States was at the forefront of many historic events. But, if you ask Americans today -- some will tell you that the future belongs to China. Chinese is spoken by over one billion people. In the US, it's one of the fastest growing languages to be taught in schools with some students as young as four years-old.
Chinese is spoken by over one billion people. In the US, it's one of the fastest growing languages to be taught in schools with some students as young as four years-old.
Just five years ago this school in Washington D.C. was almost unthinkable.
But because of China's dominance in the world, many Americans now want to prepare their kids for the future.
And learning mandarin has become extremely important.
Parent Roseann Rutherford said, "The Chinese are involved in so much, they're way ahead in technology, I think if you had a kid that had that advantage learning the language, it would give them an opportunity or a leg up." "Go back and pay attention okay? "
Roseann Rutherford only speaks English, but she wants her 4 year old daughter Kelsey to learn mandarin.
And when Kelsey arrives at Washington Yuying, mandarin is the only language she hears.
Rutherford said, "They learn the basic basic stuff, asking to go to the bathroom in Chinese, just operating their daily lives in Chinese."
More than 350 students attend Yuying, which has tripled its attendance since opening a few years ago.
Washington YuYing is only one of a dozen, full, Chinese immersions schools in the US. And the demand and the interest for mandarin instruction is exploding.
Nancy Rhodes, Cenre for Applied Linguistics, said, "Over the past ten years, we've seen statistically a significant increase in Chinese in both the elementary and secondary levels."
According to the centre for applied linguistics, any US schools are cutting language programs due to dwindling budgets.
But mandarin seems to be the only language that's increasing in demand.
Rhodes said, "We’re getting a lot of calls from school districts, from parents, teachers who are interested in Chinese language."
Mary Schaffner is Yuying’s executive director.
It was mary and a small group of parents who dreamed up the school’s concept-around a dining room table in the nation’s capital.
Mary Schaffner, executive director of Wangshington Yuying, said, "Economically we knew the Chinese would be a powerhouse and politically they are one so we thought one, it’s a great job opportunity for our kids but also this wealth of history, they could learn and to learn Mandarin early was really important to us."
The school's curriculum is planned so that students are completely bilingual in mandarin by the age of 13.
Administrators are already planning to add high school.
Second Grade student Addie Jo Weems and his friends aren't thinking of colleges or jobs just yet.
Student Addie Job Weems said, "The thing I like most about it is that it speaks Chinese and most schools in Washington, DC they're just like Spanish and Latin and stuff like that.
They're having too much fun, simply playing, thinking and living in Chinese.