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Ya Ya Curriculum

Ya Ya curriculum is structured in topic studies.

Every school year, children will study 6-8 topics. Each topic study lasts for about 6-8 weeks to allow children ample time to dive deep into the key concepts. Each topic study is based on a set of Ya Ya Big Books which form the foundation of the curriculum; they set the scope and sequence for all the teachers in creating lesson plans. A core part of the school day is dedicated for children to be engaged in topic related learning stations. These learning station activities are thoughtfully designed to seamlessly integrate language, life skills, music, art, science, math, movement, and more. In addition, children have access to a designated dramatic play room to apply what they learn in the classroom in real-life scenarios.

What are some examples of topic learning stations?

As an example, when we learned about the veterinarians in the topic “Ya Ya Community,” we set up an animal hospital with an x-ray machine, medical tools, and real x-ray films of different animals for children to act out how veterinarians do their job. During the “Beautiful Autumn” topic, children went to the park to pick up leaves and used them to make a number board. In another topic study of “Life on a Farm,” children grew real vegetables such as radish and scallion at school, and they kept a diary documenting the daily growth of these vegetables. Teachers also organized dramatic play stations where children could experience feeding the chickens, milking the cows, or shearing the sheep. 

Pictures speak louder than words. Click through the slideshow below to see the topic studies in our classrooms!

Work Time

Morning and afternoon work time is a key period where children freely explore learning materials that are purposefully set up by their teachers. While children work with materials either in a small group or on their own, teachers observe each child and take notes that will help them understand where each child is in their development.

Mandarin Immersion Approach

Let’s take a moment to think about how we acquired our first language. Did our caregivers or parents make us memorize flashcards, or did they just have conversations with us on topics that were meaningful to us? The answer is clearly the latter. And this is exactly the experience we want to replicate here at Ya Ya.  Children develop their Mandarin proficiency through our 100% immersion program. However, what really qualifies us as a true Mandarin immersion program is the integration of Mandarin in everyday curriculum. In other words, Mandarin is not taught to children but rather, children learn all the content knowledge, verbal skills, and early literacy skills in Mandarin at our school.  When children go through the door of a Ya Ya classroom, they are transported into a nurturing and playful space where the teachers speak Mandarin to them at all time. Topic discussions, daily routine, and instructions are delivered with vivid visual aids to support comprehension. Our original Ya Ya curriculum guides teachers to incorporate subject areas such as math, science, the arts, social studies, etc. so children can cultivate their Mandarin language skills in meaningful context.

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Ya Ya Big Books

Ya Ya Big Books are integral to the Chinese language component of the Ya Ya Curriculum. Tailored for children, our proprietary books feature in-house illustrations and vibrant photos, along with repetitive sentence structures and key words that align with the Ya Ya Vocabulary Cards. These books form the foundation for all lesson planning, reinforcing learning through interactive activities and hands-on projects. Children are provided with ample opportunities to internalize vocabulary definitions and apply them in meaningful contexts. Furthermore, these books also serve as tools for early Chinese literacy, as children enjoy reading them repeatedly during and after topic studies, leading some to recognize Chinese characters organically.

  • Paper Copies:  Always accessible on the classroom bookshelves, and children can check them out as library books to take home. 

  • Audio Books: Each book has an audio version so that the parents can play them at home to reinforce learning. (Click here see a sample of our Dragon topic books read-a-loud.)

  • Electronic Books: Each topic book has an electronic version (both in Chinese and Bilingual copies) that are accessible to parents.

Ya Ya Specials

At Ya Ya, our children get 3 to 4 special program sessions each week, hand-selected by our education team to extend our children’s learning beyond their classroom experience. Some specials are offered regularly while others rotate throughout the year. These special sessions are scheduled both in the morning and afternoon. 

Regular specials include:

  • Music & Movement (singing, rhythm, and development of musical senses) 

  • Cooking (e.g. baking apple pies or making special holiday treats like Chinese tang-yuan)

  • STEAM (lego, robotics, science experiment, art exploration)

  • Chinese Literacy (*afternoon only and option to choose English literacy)


Rotating specials may include but are not limited to:

  • Yoga, or martial arts, or dance by guest specialists

  • Musical instrument exposure by professional musicians. We have invited musicians who play erhu, violin, guzheng, flute, and more.

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​Field Trips

Field trips are perfect opportunities for children to connect with their community and extend their topic studies beyond the classroom walls. Our youngest learners visit neighborhood places such as grocery stores, and our older 3s and PreK students are able to take the subway to further explore the city.     


Examples of past field trips:

  • Farmer’s market 

  • Post Office

  • Local grocery stores

  • Engineering firm

 Parent Involvement

Parent involvement is a big part of our school culture. From chaperoning field trips, sharing family culture and traditions, to organizing class specific events, parents in our school community have countless opportunities to get involved throughout the school year.

Click through the slideshow below to see examples of parent involvement. 

Difference between 100% Immersion vs 50%-50% approach?

Click below to learn more!

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