Bilingual Kindergarten

News Brief: Jun. 2010

This fall, Austria’s first Chinese-German bilingual kindergarten will open its doors in the Viennese District of Meidling.

In the “Meidlinger Sonnenblume” (“Meidlinger Sunflower”) German and Chinese native speakers will care for small groups of German-and Chinese- speaking children, ideally in equal numbers. Directors Jun Lu Berger and Karl Berger believe  it will allow the children to learn two languages effortlessly.

Chinese is spoken by 1.3 billion people today, making it the most common language worldwide. Mandarin, the mother tongue of 800 million, will be the language used to converse with the children in the “Meidlinger Sonnenblume” kindergarten

The kindergarten will also offer pick-up and drop-off services as well as freshly prepared organic food. Music, dancing, drawing and pottery courses will supplement the creative program, whose philosophy focuses on the individual and his or her personal needs. The “Meidlinger Sonnenblume” further aims to create an atmosphere in which children will feel comfortable and enjoy themselves while learning.

High schools in Austria are also now beginning to offer Chinese courses as electives, a practice that appears to be well received by the students. This year, a Styrian high school student was the first Austrian to graduate with a Matura course in Chinese.

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