Preschool Program and Curriculum

Our Program

China Institute Mandarin Immersion Preschool provides an engaging, fully immersive language environment where children learn skills to begin a lifetime of discovery and inspiration. Our teachers, native speakers trained in early childhood education, conduct all classes in Mandarin and design fun-filled activities to introduce young learners to Chinese culture. Full immersion and daily classes offer your child(ren) the best foundation for acquiring academic, social, and language skills and getting ready for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Since 1926, China Institute has been advancing cross-cultural understanding between the U.S. and China and educating Americans about China. Since then, we have expanded our School of Chinese Studies to incorporate successful Mandarin language programs for children as young as 18 months while imparting Chinese cultural traditions like brush painting, calligraphy, Tai Chi, music, and meditation. The Preschool, launching in September 2022, is the newest extension of our work to be a center of cultural exploration and illumination in Lower Manhattan.
See an oped written by our Head of School on the benefits of an early education program with Mandarin language immersion.

We offer a half-day and full-day program for children 3 to 4.
Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Children must be 3 or older by January 1, 2023.
No prior knowledge of Mandarin needed.

Our Curriculum

We structure our daily program around the following learning areas: Language Arts, Art, Music and Movement, and STEAM. Occasional field trips and special programs are also an integral part of our academic program.

Our curriculum is designed to support growth in cognitive, linguistic, social/emotional and fine and gross motor skills, measured against established benchmarks for children aged 2 ½ to 4. In a nurturing yet structured setting, young children in the Program begin with activities centered on constructive play and games and grow into increasingly academic activities in preparation for preschool and elementary education. Our students will build positive relationships with teachers and fellow students and develop the motivation and ability to learn.

All course instruction is in Mandarin Chinese with the goal of helping children achieve age appropriate Mandarin Chinese fluency. A balanced introduction of culture and wisdom from the West and the East will also be integrated in the curriculum.

With a focus on providing ample language input, the program provides a low student-to-teacher ratio of 4:1. The expectation is that students will have maximized time to interact with our language educator to build verbal skills at the beginning and move on to express themselves with more complex vocabulary and sentences.

Learning Areas

Early Literacy Language Arts: Through class routines and story time, students start to engage in a world of Mandarin Chinese language that is relevant and meaningful to their daily lives. Students will build verbal skills and learn to express themselves with more complex words and sentences. Students will develop a preliminary understanding of the connections between the meaning, pronunciation, and pictographic writing symbols.

Art: Encouraging exploration of colors, dimensions and materials with imagination and fun, art projects are designed to advance children’s creativity and foster a love of artistic expression. Students also learn to practice focusing, fine motor skills, and working together as a team. Chinese art forms such as brush painting, calligraphy and woodblock printing will be introduced at the age appropriate level.

Music and Movement: Because Mandarin is a tonal language, learning Mandarin naturally tunes students’ musical ears. Engaging with music from the West and East will be an integral pathway for students to learn movement, rhythm, singing, dancing, and Mandarin Chinese itself. In addition, students will be introduced to Chinese instruments including the Qin (琴), Zheng (筝), and Pipa (琵琶), among others.

STEAM: Numbers, shapes, patterns, plants and animals, geography and the solar system; there is much from STEAM to explore for our preschoolers. Games, hands-on activities, observations and lab projects are designed to help children understand the world surrounding them and instill a love of science and discovery.

Field trips and special guest programs will be added to the regular program throughout the semester. Children will explore the many cultural destinations New York City offers. Special guests such as children’s book authors, early childhood experts, artists, and musicians will be invited to enrich our curriculum.


Half-Day (Mon–Fri, 8:30 AM–12:00 PM)

  • Morning Greetings
  • Supervised play with games, puzzles, block building and toys
  • Language Arts/Art/Music/STEAM session
  • Snack Time* (snacks provided by school)
  • Movement class
  • Reading Stories Together
  • Dismissal

Full-Day (Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM–3:30 PM)

  • Morning Greetings
  • Supervised play with games, puzzles, block building and toys
  • Language Arts/Art/Music/STEAM session 1
  • Snack Time* (snacks provided by school)
  • Movement class
  • Reading Stories Together
  • Lunch ** (brought from home)
  • Rest
  • Outing in the Playground or play-time at China Institute’s Movement Room
  • Language Arts/Art/Music/STEAM session 2
  • End of the Day Assembly
  • Dismissal

Download, fill out, and submit our preschool application>>

Discover the China Institute Preschool, opening in Fall 2022. Schedule a virtual info session to learn more and meet our educators. Email Zeyu Feng at [email protected]