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Ya Ya Apple Picking

Our Philosophy & Educational Approach

Ya Ya Preschool is an early childhood program designed for young learners regardless of their background. The Ya Ya curriculum is structured in thematic units, rich with art, music, movement, drama, and science. Following a progressive educational approach with focus on experiential learning, our children participate in interactive activities designed to replicate the real-world scenarios, learn to do both independent work and collaborative hands-on projects, build their creative confidence, and acquire their language skills organically in the process.


Beyond learning Mandarin, our goal is to guide the children in building essential life skills as well as fostering their cognitive, social, emotional and physical development. Respecting every child as a unique learner, we want them to feel loved and encouraged to explore and discover the world around them at their own pace.

What makes Ya Ya Preschool unique is that our curriculum is designed in Mandarin to be taught only in Mandarin, unlike a typical bilingual school that teaches its curriculum in both Mandarin and English. Since the original Ya Ya Immersion program at Mandarin Seeds, launched more than a decade ago, our unique and proprietary Ya Ya curriculum has had a successful track record for children who have come from diverse language and cultural backgrounds, including heritage speakers, families where only English is spoken, as well as multilingual families.

When the children come through the door of a Ya Ya classroom, they are transported into a nurturing and playful space where Mandarin is the language spoken by all the teachers. Our immersive school environment itself acts like the invisible teacher. The classroom is carefully set up with books in Chinese, thematic decorations and thoughtful materials that introduce kids to the visual and tactile world of Chinese characters.

We believe that, with parental support and encouragement from teachers, every child can succeed in the Ya Ya classroom. From birth, a child naturally begins to learn any language being spoken to them, and they are adept at distinguishing the sounds of multiple languages. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to a second language during early childhood have greater success in mastering that language later in life.

Every school year, it never ceases to amaze our teachers how quickly the children become comfortable in the new environment and start to make meaningful linguistic connections with their classmates and teachers. Ya Ya Preschool creates a community where every child feels free to express themselves and communicate with each other in Mandarin.

Language is like music:

the earlier you start,

the more frequent you listen and practice,

the more skilled you become. 

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Research has also shown that there are cognitive developmental benefits to learning multiple languages at an early age including:

  • Improved executive functioning skills

  • Mental flexibility

  • Better working memory

  • Stronger attention focus

What the day looks like...

Here’s a glimpse into some of the actions that happen inside our classrooms. Daily photo documentation is one of the ways that help our teachers share the progress of the children with parents. The Ya Ya curriculum is intentionally designed, and proven, to work in a mixed-age classroom. 

Each of the class components is designed to meet different target learning goals. A morning class session may include the following components:

  • Independent Work Time

  • Circle Time

  • Topics Studies

  • Music & Movement

  • Hands-on Projects

  • Science Experiments

  • Arts & Crafts

  • Storybook Time

A full-day program may also include more components in the afternoon: 

  • Outdoor Time

  • Sensory Explorations

  • Manipulatives

  • Games

In a typical school day, the teacher uses a lesson plan that may include, but is not limited to, these components. Teachers may tailor and calibrate the curriculum and activities depending on the circumstances of a given school day. The number one focus is on the children, and all decisions are made with their well-being in mind.

Environment plays an essential role in immersion learning.

Check out our library with 1000+ Mandarin books.

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