ELLICOTT CITY, Md. - It's not your average greeting in Ms. Julie Chang's classroom. Students are learning Chinese.
It's part of the World Language Pilot Program.
"It is so exciting to be able to give them the opportunity at an early age to acquire world languages. The research shows exposing students to world languages is beneficial," said Kathy Jacobs, Principal at Waverly Elementary School in Howard County.
Waverly Elementary School in Ellicott City is part of a pilot program to teach students Chinese and Spanish. Students learn each language for two quarters for 30 minutes twice a week.
"They are exposed to a different culture so we bring the eastern side mixed with the western side. They learn so I hope from this learning experience they grow up to be a well rounded global citizen," said Iris Chao, World Language Chinese Teacher.
China plays a huge role in our global economy and Hispanic consumers are the fastest growing market which are reasons educators teach these languages.
"It's very challenging to learn Chinese and Spanish, but it is very cool to learn about the cultures and words of different languages," said Seth Josephson, 5th grade student.
Gestures, visuals and role play help in the learning process. Students picked up the Chinese language pretty quickly. They learned greetings, numbers and songs.
The World Language Program is in its second year. It is offered at Waverly Elementary and Laurel Woods Elementary Schools in Howard County. All students in K-5 participate in the dual, all inclusive language program.