Cornerstone leverages the power of immersion to help students achieve a natural fluency in Mandarin Chinese. For most of our programs, in fact, it’s our only instructional language. It is the core language of the classroom between teachers and students and the language of the playground between students as well.
Our Full Day K-5 program aims to nurture and challenge our children on their path to becoming bilingual readers, writers, and critical thinkers. The program is built around four core subject areas: Chinese Language Arts, English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Social Studies/Science.
We follow a dual immersion school model that makes a command of two languages, Mandarin Chinese and English as an explicit goal. In both cases, however, language is presented as a fundamental part of the learning process—and life itself.
In Chinese Language Arts, students develop the ability to use Mandarin Chinese in a linguistically, culturally, and socially appropriate way. Our immersion environment mirrors the conditions in which monolingual Chinese speakers acquire their dominant language. We encourage students to be active learners and communicators in both formal and informal settings.
In English Language Arts, students grow into competent and confident readers and communicators. Through a diverse range of activities, students build and reinforce skills in phonics, reading, comprehension, writing, handwriting, and oral communication. Our curriculum emphasizes creating opportunities for exploration and self-expression.
In Mathematics, students build their skills as logical thinkers who engage in analytic inquiry and decision-making. Our approach encourages students to make the connection between mathematical questions and real-life challenges. Starting with concrete objects and pictures, we help students apply their knowledge to more abstract concepts as they grow with us. At Cornerstone, Mathematics is taught in Chinese. (Students start to solve the word problem in English at 3rd grade)
In Social Studies/Science, students become inquisitive explorers of our world through hands-on experiments, crafts, and projects. Learning is centered on thematic units adapted from California state standards. Beginning in 4th grade, students will also learn how to explain learned social science concepts in English.
Beyond these four core curriculum areas, students also participate in Physical Education. This class is taught in Mandarin Chinese. Team skills and good sportsmanship are the primary emphasis of our physical education instruction.
Music and Arts is to liberate students' creativity and help them make connections between concepts across subject areas through singing, dancing, and group art projects. Study in and through the arts employs a form of thinking and a way of knowing based on human judgment, invention, and imagination.
We are happy to offer an outstanding Mandarin immersion program for students starting from 3 years old. The program is designed to encourage early language acquisition.
In our Mandarin Kids program, these beginning students are surrounded by messages in Chinese that communicate interesting and relevant information. There are group lessons for students to participate in concrete, hands-on activities. As they complete these activities, teachers model proper language by inviting children to imitate phrases, respond to questions, or even initiate comments in Mandarin. We use indoor and outdoor games to provide a structured setting for children to practice social and conversational skills. Songs, rhymes, stories, and role-playing are also integrated into our theme-based curriculum.
In addition to emphasizing Mandarin language development, the Mandarin Kids program provides ample opportunities for young children to explore, play, and express themselves through arts, crafts, music, and movement.
In our Mandarin Kids classrooms, you will see a balanced approach that includes child-initiated learning, teacher-directed learning, whole-class instruction, and individualized instruction.
The Morning Session takes place from 9-11:30am, with an extended program available from 11:30am-12:30pm.
The Full Day Preschool takes place from 9am-3pm, with an extended program available from 3-5:30pm.
Two-day (Tuesday/Thursday), three-day (Monday/Wednesday/Friday), or five-day (Monday through Friday) options are available.
The Pre-K Mandarin Immersion program is designed to provide students with an excellent learning experience to develop their Mandarin Chinese and other skills that will put them on the path to academic success in elementary school. This year will have a huge impact on a child’s social and emotional development.
The small size of our Pre-K class allows for individual attention to ensure students are developing the necessary social, emotional, and academic skills to enter kindergarten confident and eager to learn.
The program is 9am-2pm or 9am-3pm, Monday through Friday, with extended care till 5:30pm as an optional addition.
After School Program
The primary goal of this program is to enhance and further develop students’ Chinese listening, speaking, reading and writing skills through formal Chinese language arts classes and an immersive Chinese environment. Students will be grouped based on their age and language ability.
The Cornerstone After School Chinese program differs from traditional paper-and-pencil approaches. Our teaching focuses on what students can do with Mandarin Chinese. We use a research-based, dynamic curriculum that is regularly evaluated by our professional teaching team to ensure optimal quality and effectiveness.
Our flexible approach is tailored to the needs of the students and works far better than a fixed curriculum or set of textbooks. We carefully select articles grouped in different
themes for teaching. We identify and emphasize topics that interest our students, that tap into their real-life experiences, and that fit the needs of their personality and language proficiency development.
Children develop their Chinese language skills, knowledge, understanding, and attitudes through daily routines and first-hand experiences provided at Cornerstone.
Clear grade-level learning standards and systemic assessments are set up to help students grow their Chinese language abilities. At Cornerstone, assessment is a continuous process of gathering information about student learning and performance using a variety of sources over time.
The After School 100% Chinese Immersion Program has four stages of development. Stage 1 is the beginning level, for Kinder and beginners. Stage 2 is the foundation level, divided into a two year program: Foundation 1 and foundation 2. Stage 3 is Pre-advanced level, divided into a three years program.
This Beginner class takes place from 3:00-5:30pm, and Foundation and Pre-advanced classes take place from 3:30-6pm. Both convene from Monday through Friday. Two-, three-, and five-day options are available.
Pre-program early care is also available.
The Thursday night program is designed for middle school and high school age students who possess intermediate, middle and upper Chinese language proficiency, while enabling them to continue their Chinese language and culture study. An entrance exam is required. Students will also be assigned self-study projects to complete after class time.
The CLC (Chinese Language and Culture) class is designed for intermediate level Chinese students who not only develop proficiency in Chinese language but also gain knowledge of Chinese culture. The content of this course covers a wide variety of topics, including Chinese language structures and characters, Chinese customs, proverbs, holidays, social phenomena, religion, poetry, geography, as well as Chinese folklore. The texts challenge the student to develop their linguistics.
The test preparation course is designed to help students to get ready for the SAT II Chinese subject test and AP Chinese test, which is administered by the US College Board. As students proceed through this course, they learn vocabulary and important sentence structures for performance tasks. They will also observe and practice models and gain skills for taking tests.
This program takes place from 7-8:30pm on Thursday nights. In the 2022-23 school year, this program is conducted at the Manuela Campus.
Cornerstone is pleased to offer our Mandarin Immersion Summer Camps for incoming preschool through sixth grade students!
Our Preschool and upcoming K-6 Summer camp participants play games, do crafts, and enjoy our enriching learning community while being fully immersed in Mandarin Chinese.
For 2023, the Summer Camp will be from June 5 to June 23 for Preschool program, and June 12 to June 23 for upcoming K-6 graders.