The United States of America is a melting pot, but as mixed and diverse as this nation is, it’s important to know where we came from to help us get where we’re going. The Chinese Center of Toledo (CCT), a division of the Chinese Association of Greater Toledo, is part of that mission to educate, honor and preserve Chinese language, culture and tradition.
“Our language history is quite important for our own children to learn, because it’s part of them,” says CCT school principle Liang Ye, who moved to the United States in 2000 from her position as School Manager in Singapore, China. “And for children of other national backgrounds, (foreign language education) helps them to understand about other countries and cultures. The world is more connected now, and this is important.”
“In the beginning,” says Ye, “we served more of the Chinese community, but now it’s not just about teaching our own children.” A division of The Chinese Association of Greater Toledo, it’s the only institution in our city offering all levels of Chinese language classes for both heritage families and English-speaking families, from 3 years old and up. CCT currently has approximately 100 students, 8 board members and 14 faculty and staff members.
In the Spring and Fall semesters, the CCT offers a broad range of classes, including, Pre-Kindergarten 1, for children 3 to 4 years old, and Pre-Kindergarten 2, for children 4 to 5 years old, that expose the students to basic vocabulary and beginning language structure themes through stories and activities. Students 6 years old and up coming from a home environment where Chinese is spoken learn techniques of listening, speaking, reading and writing at any one of eight class levels. And English-speaking students 6 years old and up who are hungry to learn about Chinese language and culture can study in the ‘Chinese as a Second Language’ course which includes tone, vocabulary, writing, characters, dialogue, cultural traditions, stories, and more. This fall, the CCT becomes the Northwest Ohio exam center for the New Youth Chinese Test, a standardized international Chinese proficiency test, and a site for AP/SAT preparation advanced level classes.
The best thing for Ye is watching her students progress. “It’s so amazing when you see the kids who know just a little bit (of Chinese) in the beginning…and then when they’re older (and more advanced) you realize you’ve watched these children grow.”
For more info, 567-343-2288/www.chinesecenteroftoledo.org.