MONROVIA, CA – Plymouth Elementary families gazed at a rising, red moon through telescopes, made glowing multi-colored paper lanterns and tasted sweet Chinese moon cakes during the school’s first Moon and Stars Night, celebrating the mid-autumn, or moon, festival on Oct. 6.

Jessica Vazquez, a second-grader who has been a part of the school’s Mandarin dual-immersion program for three years, joined her class in re-enacting a Chinese legend about the moon.

“I like typing Mandarin and learning the dialogue,” Jessica, 7, said. “I want to learn more Mandarin and get smarter.”

Students conducted moon crater experiments and learned about constellations at booths. Families also observed the night sky through four high-powered telescopes provided by the Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers.

Plymouth offers a Mandarin dual-immersion program for students in kindergarten through second grade, providing an interactive academic environment for students to learn Mandarin along with the California Standards. The program aims to have students become bilingual and biliterate in Mandarin while understanding and appreciating Chinese culture.

“Our students are able to explore another culture while learning in an enhanced academic and linguistic environment,” Monrovia Unified President Bryan Wong said. “Acquiring a second language is an important investment in our students’ futures and our parents are strong partners in helping our students achieve their goals.”

Jessica’s parents also teach her Spanish at home, hoping that she will become trilingual.

“It would be beneficial to her future, regardless of whichever career she goes in,” said Elizabeth Vazquez, Jessica’s mom. “There are a lot of resources that the school provides to help us understand and help our children, so it’s a really great program.”

Jessica’s mom and sister participate in family Chinese classes twice a month, learning Chinese and class content to strengthen Jessica’s understanding at home.

“Monrovia Unified prepares our students to become global citizens in a multilingual and multicultural world,” Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “Our Dual Immersion programs ensures that each student will develop the linguistic, cognitive and social skills needed to communicate with the world at large.”


101117_MONROVIA_MOONSTARS1: Plymouth Elementary’s second-grade Mandarin dual immersion class reenacts a Chinese legend about the moon during the school’s first Moon and Stars Family Night on Oct. 6.

101117_MONROVIA_MOONSTARS2: Plymouth Elementary families observe constellations and a rising, red moon through telescopes during the school’s first Moon and Stars Family Night on Oct. 6.