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Shu Ren International School (Berkeley, CA)
There is a Chinese language school in Oakland with a similar name: Shouren Chinese School
Re: Immersion school for gifted kids?
May I make another suggestion to consider? It continues to surprise me that people don't mention Shu Ren International School in the same breath as EB, EBI, & GISSV when discussing private immersion schools, though I guess at 5 1/2 years old they are kind of the new kid on the block! That said, I have my very bright daughter there and have been continually impressed. They are a Mandarin-immersion, official International Baccalaureate (IB) school and extremely committed to inquiry-based learning. It is very child-centered and kids are continually challenged to work at the level most appropriate for them and to engage creatively with their lessons. No rote learning and the projects seem to really engage her. It has also struck us as a very caring, nurturing environment. Just my two cents- something to consider! Happy Parent
We start Shu Ren this fall and are so excited! There are 2012 reviews but not so much on the camps. Do you feel they are a good value? Do you feel they learn a lot? For my younger child with lite mandarin experience is the transition extremely difficult? We love the adventure we are about to embark on! We would love to meet some families in the area who will also be attending kindergarten this year! Curious and excited
Re: School advice for British/International kids?
I'd like to recommend my children's school, Shu Ren International School. It has many of the characteristics you are looking for: nurturing, structured, with small classes that offer students lots of one-on-one attention and differentiated teaching. It is an IB candidate school so they utilize the IB structure and the curriculum and environment are very globally-focused. It is Mandarin immersion (100% Mandarin in Pre-K, 20% English in kindergarten, reaching 50/50 by 3rd grade) and Spanish is introduced as a third language in 3rd grade. Students who have started with no Mandarin work individually with teachers so they can catch up on the language, while also being supported in the other subjects. They also have a Mandarin immersion summer camp that can help jump start the language exposure. If your children already have some exposure to Mandarin, it would be that much easier for them. It is a wonderful school, both my children are very happy there and my husband and I are thrilled by the depth of their learning and their enthusiasm for school. The teachers and administrators are very talented and responsive, and the parent community is fantastic. shu ren mom
Re: Shu-Ren Vs. Pacific Rim for Middle School
My son has been at Shu Ren for four years and my daughter will be starting in the fall. We couldn't be happier with the school. We've been consistently impressed with the teachers, the inquiry-based curriculum, and the dedication to true Mandarin immersion. The combination of inquiry learning and language immersion works beautifully to engage the students in the subjects they are learning and to get them excited about it. It also teaches the language much more in-depth than other language classes or immersion schools I have seen. We have been very pleased with the quality of education and students' personal development we have seen over the years at the school, and we feel very lucky to have such a great opportunity for our children in our backyard. Happy Shu Ren parent
Re: Mandarin-immersion elementary schools
My son attends Shu Ren. When choosing schools, we looked at all the local Mandarin immersion programs and chose Shu Ren for three primary reasons: small class size, the IB curriculum, and the serious dedication to Mandarin immersion. My son was fluent in Mandarin before starting and we have been constantly amazed by his progress since then. He is now in 2nd grade and is writing lengthy essays, reading, and conversing fluently. I don't believe any of the other local schools can offer the high-level of Mandarin instruction that Shu Ren does. The small class size is key as teachers work with each student at their individual level and students have plenty of opportunity to engage and participate in class discussions in Chinese. The inquiry-based curriculum teaches subjects in-depth, so the students learn very sophisticated vocabulary and understanding of the topics in both Mandarin and English.
This year, two new teachers (one who is also the Assistant Head of School) have been brought on board, and the level of teaching, especially in math, has risen to an impressive new level. My son has made amazing progress in math this year. He is doing fractions, decimals, division, multi-digit multiplication, and more with ease and he really enjoys it. The math now combines the best of Chinese teaching (ie drilling of key concepts and facts, like multiplication tables) and American teaching (conceptual, practical skills) and is very effective. English is also taught on a differentiated basis so students progress at their own level and are always challenged. Several students in my son's class are reading and writing a grade level or two above their age. They also have a wonderful Kodaly music program. We have not had to supplement my son's learning at all.
Socially, the small size has been wonderful for my son's social development. The teachers know each student really well and their strengths and weaknesses, and work on building community within their classrooms. While the small class size means students have more limited options for making friends, it helps build important skills as students learn to work out differences and accept differing points of view, rather than just being able to switch to another groups of friends when conflicts arise. The students in my son's class have all become very close and he has made several very good friends. The small size also allows teachers to plan regular field trips, including overnight trips, which have become a key part of the learning process. The trips have also been a lot of fun and helped the students and teachers (and parents) forge close bonds.
In short, we are so happy we chose Shu Ren. The academics have exceeded our expectations but most importantly, our son loves going to school every day and we know he is being well-cared for in a warm, nurturing environment by wonderful teachers. happy Shu Ren parent
Firstly - The inquiry based learning method is amazing and my son is thriving on all counts (especially with his awareness of the world he lives in). The children spend a lot time doing hands on learning - while being in a warm and nurturing environment. His teachers have been amazing and always accessible if I need anything (as well as the administration). His math skills in particular are really high and the teacher continually challenges him without it feeling threatening. We do not supplement his education in anyway because what he is learning is already beyond our expectations. And as far as reading in English, he is slightly ahead of the curve despite him only having 20% of his time devoted to English. The English teacher encourages children to go beyond their levels, without putting pressure on them.
Secondly - The Mandarin immersion model. I am envious of all that my son is learning. The inquiry method with the immersion model is a great marriage.
Our son comes from a non- Chinese speaking household and has done exceedingly well with his Chinese and really enjoys learning another language. We have been told by many native speakers at the school that my sons Chinese is very good and he is starting to sound more like a native. He has done well with learning how to write his characters and is working on his reading in Chinese. As far as the immersion model, our son is telling us that his Chinese homework is easier then his English homework.
As far as social skills, he is doing really well. I use to think my son was shy but now see that his social skills are very good. He is in a small class and gets a lot of attention from his teachers and the other students. He has access to kids of all grades and plays well with a multitude of ages. I also have lots of play dates at my house with the kids from school
Additionally, we were accepted into the public Chinese school for 1st grade but were so happy with Shu Ren that we declined the offer. Happy Shu Ren parent
My child is in 2nd grade. This year they get a list of 20 Chinese characters that they can practice at home. They can exchange for a new list as soon as they memorized the current list. My child went through 19 lists in the first semester. They also reads and write in Chinese in class. They get reading materials based on their level. Since we have Chinese speaking background, my daughter gets more advanced reading material. She can write in much longer paragraphs than last school year. Her handwriting has improved tremendously.
Her English is also very good. Besides the work they do at school, they also get spelling list, reading list that they do every week at home, they are all self-paced. She is at a very advanced reading level. They also write based on the topic they are learning. And their writing is very organized with a beginning, each paragraph has a central idea, and a summary ending, etc.
Math is another area that I am impressed with. They have a teacher that has taught in a language immersion school in China. In my opinion, she integrated some of the better methods they use in Chinese schools. In 2nd grade, my daughter memorizes times table, she can do multiplications with 2 digits numbers, for example 35 * 24. She can do addition and subtraction even in thousands in her head (without the help of a pen and pencil). Quite a few of her classmates is at the same math level as her. In class they break down the kids into groups based on their level, and teach them new things, and give them practices based on their level of math skills.
So overall, here is what I feel. How much we (both parents and kids) put into, is how much we get out of. And Shu Ren offers the opportunity to let them advance at their own pace, will not slow them down. With a smaller class, they get a lot more personal attention.
Of course it's not all study at school. They have a lot of fun. I have a lot to say about that, but that's not what you were asking a parent
Our experience is that the small classrooms really enable the teachers to provide differentiated teaching for different levels. My child is in second grade and learning in-depth concepts with each unit of inquiry, in English and Chinese. Additionally, he has self-paced work in Math, Chinese and English. He's comfortable with multiplication, division, and fractions. I think that he can read just about any English chapter book put in front of him. He has also been taking home packets of 20 Chinese characters each week and advancing at his own pace. Friends and family have been surprised with the level of thinking and learning that he demonstrates.
It was very difficult to get him to speak Mandarin by the time he was 3 even though it was the language of his primary care taker. He initiates Chinese conversations with Chinese family members now. We've recently texted in Chinese when he was out of town.
Socially, his classmates all know each other well and play together. I've observed that he has been able to make new friends under different circumstances, outside of the classroom. The afterschool programs also bring different kids together from the community.
The one thing that I will say is that the school has focused most of its energy and resources on the quality of its teachers and curriculum, and not as much on making itself known in the community. I hope that this would change because what an incredible opportunity if you can take advantage of it. Happy ShuRen Parent
Re: Looking for small school, flexibly paced program
Since you mentioned you are open to a bilingual program, I would like to recommend Shu Ren International School. It fits all your criteria perfectly. My child is in the 2nd grade there. Classes are very small (currently 14 students with two teachers, plus additional assistants/volunteers who help out) and learning is differentiated so students are working at very different levels according to their own ability. Much of the day is spent in small groups (2-3 students) according to students' levels in various subjects, especially in English reading where the class includes several different levels. The teachers are skilled at focusing on where individual students need extra support and finding ways to fit it in. It is bilingual Mandarin/English but the curriculum is all integrated so they are learning the same content in both languages. The class has students who are native Mandarin speakers, English language learners, and those who had no prior Mandarin and are just learning, so the materials and curriculum are designed to take different levels into account. It is a very nurturing, supportive environment and I highly recommend it. happy shu ren mom
Re: Mandarin Immerson Summer camp
Hi: Regarding the Mandarin immersion camp inquiry... This may not be in time for the current summer, but I wanted to post a message for parents to keep in mind perhaps for next year re: summer camp recommendations. We sent our son to Shu Ren's Mandarin Immersion camp last summer (for many weeks) and can recommend the teachers and staff there as great (smart, patient and hands-on). We had other plans for most weeks this summer but I imagine that the camp is just as good as the summer before. Parent
Re: How is Montessori style Mandarin immersion
My children have never been in a Montessori classroom so I can't respond to that part of your question. But we did look extensively at all the Mandarin options, including the local Montessori schools, when choosing a school for my son. We chose Shu Ren for two main reasons: 1. The Mandarin immersion seemed much more intensive there than the other schools, and we had more faith that our son would become truly bilingual. And 2. we think the curriculum developed at Shu Ren (which is aiming to become an International Baccalaureate World School) is quite amazing. It teaches children to become independent and critical thinkers and compassionate human beings, even at preschool age. After three years at the school, we couldn't be happier. It is a warm, nurturing environment with a supportive and enthusiastic parent community and talented, thoughtful teachers and staff. I highly recommend it. happy shu ren mom
I believe that the school is still accepting applications and I have found the tuition to be right on par with the quality of education. If you do a cost comparison with the Montessori schools, you will find that Shu Ren would be right on target.
The general vibe at Shu Ren is is one of enthusiasm. It's a tight group of parents working together to build something great. The teachers are dedicated, enthusiastic and also very nurturing. The style of learning is focused, but is still really fun for the children. The class sizes are small which allows the teachers to give excellent individual attention and work with individual needs. Additionally, I have found the administration to be very attentive to concerns or questions that arise.
The learning style is based on a very well respected International learning method and is described as inquiry-based. While the teachers provide the structure for learning, they encourage the children to participate and help guide the process. I believe this results in well educated and confident children who learn how to navigate their world early on in life.
I would highly recommend Shu Ren, not just for preschool but also as a consideration for kindergarten and grade school. You'll find that the rates are competitive with other preschool programs, and you get the second language. Shu Ren Parent
Shu Ren is IB program which is quite different from Montessori. For my child's personality, already pretty quite, bit on the shy side, Montessori didn't offer the social interaction, and the child like play we needed. After joining Shu Ren, I can tell the difference in my child's behavior within couple months.
The teachers are great, and my child is very happy. So far I am very happy with Shu Ren, both from my child's academic growth and social skills. Happy Parent
Re: Mandarin Immersion Elementary Schools?
There is currently really only one true Mandarin immersion elementary school in the East Bay: Shu Ren International School. Of the elementary schools with Mandarin offered, it's the only one that uses Mandarin as the main language for teaching most subjects. Last week's newsletter posted several reviews of the school so I don't want to repeat, but the main things we like about it are: small class size and the chance for individualized teaching; full Mandarin immersion taught by talented native speakers; a very strong English program so I never worry my son is behind kids in ''regular'' schools; and the IB curriculum framework. It's a wonderful school and I highly recommend it. mom of shu ren elementary student
Re: Mandarin summer mini-camps for 5 year old
Shu Ren International School in Berkeley offers a Mandarin summer camp in two-week sessions throughout the summer. Our son is in school there and attended the camp last summer and had a lot of fun. The teachers are great and the kids learn a lot of Chinese. Registration forms are available now at: http://www.shureninternationalschool.com/programs/summer-camp/
shu ren mom
Re: Mandarin Bilingual from K on - which one?
Our son is in Kindergarten at Shu Ren and we love it. It's a warm, nurturing environment with talented and enthusiastic teachers and staff. Our son spoke Chinese before going but most of the children had had little or no exposure before this year, and they are all reading, writing and speaking Chinese already, after just two months. The teacher has done a great job of creating a community feeling among the students, and our son is excited to go to school every day. The workload is intensive but must be in order for them to learn such a difficult language, and my son enjoys the work, loves doing his homework, and they are learning a lot. They also spend a lot of time on art projects, music, and free play outdoors. Because it is 100% Mandarin in Kindergarten, except for an hour a day of English, the children really benefit from an immersion environment. The staff and administrators are very dedicated and smart, enrollment is very stable now, and I'm trusting that the school is here to stay. The school is hosting open houses and tours this month, check out their website for more details: http://shureninternationalschool.com/ Shu Ren mom
Re: Mandarin Bilingual from K on - which one?
I usually don't take time out to write letters of recommendation, but I feel strongly enough about a recent poster's inquiry into a good Mandarin bilingual school to reply: In my opinion, Shu Ren International School in Berkeley is the only place to go!!!
I have a long-standing interest in foreign languages, linguistics and bilingual education. When considering the right school for our only child, my husband and I looked at a broad swath of highly recommended schools in the Bay Area. We visited both Spanish and Mandarin language immersion schools; and we even spent a couple of preschool years at a Spanish-English bilingual language school. A number of the other schools we looked at were quite good, but we can state unequivocally that Shu Ren is the absolute best we've seen. I was a little hesitant before starting the year: although I speak three languages fluently, neither my husband nor I have any knowledge of Mandarin (with two busy careers and no nanny, we weren't anticipating a lot of extra time to devote to learning the language). But our Kindergartner is thriving in a warm, loving environment filled with rich learning experiences (academically and socially), a broad-based educational framework, and strong, creative and professional teachers and administrators -- We couldn't be happier and we are so grateful that we found Shu Ren.
Please google it to make sure but in case it's handy, I think their number is 510-981-0291. Best wishes, Happy Parent of a 5-yr Old
Re: Mandarin Bilingual from K on - which one?
Shuren is the only mandarin-immersion school in the Bay Area that strives to follow the International Baccalaureate Program, an internationally recognized academic program that will help the children become self-inquirers and develop a passion for life-long learning. To that end, Shuren has hired teachers that share this vision and have taught their initial classes of pre-K through 2nd grade kids how to nurture this desire to learn. My son has been going to Shuren since this January as a pre-K student and has truly loved going there. His mandarin improved dramatically within weeks of starting and we truly want to see Shuren succeed in its endeavors to become a K-8 school. Please go visit the school for yourself so you can see what the kindergarten teacher has taught the children. I believe they are still doing tours on Wednesday mornings, but please call the school to check. Their website is www.shureninternationalschool.com. Their number is: (510) 981-0320. Good luck in your decision-making. Mom of a Shuren Child
We are asking parents' input on Shu Ren International School. We visited the school with our 4-year-old daughter and really liked their environment. But since it's new, we would like to hear from Shu Ren's parents about the teachers and the kind of progress their children are making. We are hoping this would help with our decision making. looking for info
The curriculum is based on the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program, which is centered around themes, and so all the day's activities are interconnected and relate to the particular theme they are working on (right now the theme is My Body and so they learn songs, do art projects, read stories, play games, etc about various parts of their bodies.) The day is quite structured (compared to play-based pre-schools) but they seem to have plenty of time for free play and to play outside. But the best part is the Chinese immersion. Even though my son was fluent in Chinese before entering Shu Ren, he was always more comfortable speaking English in new situations, but his Chinese has really taken off since he's been there. The teachers are warm, thoughtful and making a good effort to create an active and dynamic environment, even with just a few students. They also are great at communicating with parents. Our son's teacher writes up a summary of what they did in the classroom each week and posts it on a blog with photos for parents to see. I've also heard great things about the kindergarten/1st grade teacher.
The one downside is that enrollment is low (there are currently six students in the pre-k class, some of whom are part-time), but that is changing as new students have been enrolling almost every week. I highly recommend Shu Ren to anyone who wants their child to learn Mandarin, or just wants a small, warm, creative environment. shu ren mom
He absolutely adores his teacher and comes home singing songs everyday. In fact, he likes the songs so much that he sings to himself while we're in the car or running errands. I have no doubt that he will soon be completely fluent in the language.
Our kindergarten teacher, Kai Yao is amazing and just a natural at teaching. She laughs a lot with the children and seems to enjoy their company as much as they enjoy her's. We are delighted and grateful to have such a supportive and engaging learning environment for our child. Shu Ren Parent
Re: Chinese school in Albany?
There is a new Chinese immersion school in Berkeley, Shu Ren International School, which also has after school Chinese classes that are open to the community. Our son is currently a student there and it is a great school with wonderful teachers and a friendly, warm atmosphere. They are having an open house next Wednesday, October 29. Their website is: http://shureninternationalschool.com/ and phone number is (510) 981-0320. The address is 1333 University Avenue, Berkeley. Shu Ren parent
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