Seashore Academy Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Seashore Academy’s immersion model?
A: Seashore Academy’s curriculum is based on 70% of the instructional time in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish, 10% in Spanish or Mandarin and 20% in English. Our goal is to get our students “up and running” in Mandarin or Spanish quickly, so that they are then able to consume age-appropriate books and media in Mandarin Chinese or Spanish and enjoy the continued learning process. A slower start would be a more arduous process for the student, who wouldn’t be able to reap the rewards of proficiency until much later in life.
Q: Seashore Academy class sizes are small. Why?
A: Smaller class sizes boost academic achievement while minimizing discipline issues. Seashore Academy’s small class size allows for differentiated learning, where students can work and progress at their own level. Our students receive individualized attention from teachers, which helps each child develop fully.
Q: Why Mandarin Chinese? Why Spanish?
A: Opportunity. A command of English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese will allow our children to speak to approximately 75% of the world’s population. The opportunities that our children will have are far beyond what they might otherwise have with only English.
Learning a foreign language may enhance the development of Executive Function. When children are absorbing the target language in an immersion program- learning a variety of subjects in the classroom in that target language- they are truly becoming proficient in that tongue. Bilingual Education may enhance brain development. In addition, research has shown that the very process of learning a foreign language develops the brain to think and absorb information more efficiently: How bilingual education changes the brain
Q: Does Seashore Academy use simplified or traditional Chinese characters?
A: We teach children traditional characters to start, and as they enter 4th and 5th grades they will learn the simplified versions of these characters. We do this because it is easier transition from traditional to simplified than it is to go the other way around and because knowing both forms of characters will enable the students to read Chinese anywhere. Generally, simplified characters are used in China and traditional characters are used in Taiwan, though many of the classical texts are in traditional characters.
Q. What is topic-based learning?
A: It’s a type of curriculum that fosters independent thought and critical thinking skills. We will examine a series of topics throughout the year, but will do so in all 3 languages. In the process of learning about the topic, we’ll cover Geography, History, Science, Grammar, Art, etc. We want our children to love learning and to develop a habit of asking intelligent questions. A topic-based curriculum fosters the exploration of a subject at length, without the learning becoming arduous.
Q: If my child is in an immersion school, will they fall behind their peers in English or other subjects?
A: Research shows that immersion actually reinforces English language development in the long term. After three to four years, immersion students typically do as well as or better in English than their peers in general education. Our goal is that our students exceed their peers in all subjects, which is achieved through our small class sizes and academic focus.
Q: I don’t speak Mandarin Chinese or Spanish. How can I help my child?
A: We anticipate that many families will not speak Mandarin Chinese or Spanish at home, so we have a systematic curriculum that challenges students on matter that was taught at school, assuming no outside knowledge of the language. In addition, an English-language overview of the week’s curriculum will be sent home, so that parents can talk about what was covered in class.
Parents can assist foreign language development by having children listen to their language CDs daily and provide them with foreign-language DVDs.
Q: How will we know if our child is meeting California standards?
A: Seashore Academy’s individualized plans will allow students to soar past state standards. Seashore Academy teachers are allowed flexibility for in-depth, engaged, and rigorous learning. We actively encourage all of our students to participate in a charter or district homeschool program, which gives families peace of mind that all state standards are being fulfilled.
Q: What are the hours of operation? Is there before/after school care?
We roughly follow the Irvine Unified School District Calendar. Our hours of operation are 8:55-2:45 Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. We operate from 8:55-1:30 on Wednesdays.
We are located at 295 E Yale Loop inside the Boys and Girls Club.
Before school extra curricular activities start at 8 AM. Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
Q: Why no homework until 5th grade?
A: With the great deal of individual attention, students are able to accomplish an extraordinary amount during the school day. While a minimum of 30 minutes of reading (in English) is highly recommended, Seashore Academy has a no-homework policy. Our students progress rapidly in the homeschool-inspired format. We like to focus on intensive academics at school and then let the children be free after school for play, sports, reading, and family time.