Demand for language immersion school programs continue to grow locally but interested parents looking to learn more about the options may not know where to start.
Two local parent groups are teaming up Saturday to put on a Language Resource Fair at the San Mateo Public Library, 55 W. Third Ave. The free two-hour event will feature vendors that provide multilingual services and educational opportunities for local children and families as well as story time in Spanish and Mandarin.
T. Van Do, Friends of Mandarin Scholars board secretary, said it's a modest effort to bring together parents interested in having their children be multilingual. But it's also a chance for families to meet one another and swap ideas.
Saturday is the fourth resource fair organized by Multilingual Kids -- a group of San Carlos, Belmont and Redwood Shores families interested in increasing the language learning opportunities for school-aged children. It's the first time the group is working with Friends of Mandarin Scholars, a group established two years ago by parents and community members to support Mandarin education in the San Mateo Foster-City Elementary School District.
"I am excited that we could partner with FMS to provide this opportunity in the community," said Multilingual Kids Organizer Alyssa Herrrera-Set. "As a parent, I know it has been a challenge to access all the resources available to ensure that my children have opportunities to learn Spanish and become multilingual and multicultural. It feels wonderful to be able to share these resources with other local families seeking to provide these opportunities to their children."
Do agreed. A Brisbane resident with two children in a Mandarin program, she doesn't speak any Mandarin. But that doesn't mean she doesn't support their education. Her family works with others to have play dates and looks for local high school and college students or even senior citizens willing to chat in Mandarin with the children. It's a commitment.
"Where there's a will, there's a way," she said, adding that doesn't mean it's always easy.
Saturday will act as a way for those in the community interested to learn about multilingual programs and each other. A free program booklet, which includes vendor contact information and resources, will be made available to all attendees. Family friendly activities will include Spanish storytelling at 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. and Mandarin storytelling at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
"We really see this as an invaluable opportunity to build community among families and vendors committed to multilingual education," said Do. "We look forward to showcasing these resources and increasing awareness about our work in the community."
Do also hopes those in attendance will freely give feedback to better resource fairs in the future.
For more information about the Friends of Mandarin Scholars visit http://www.mandarinscholars.org. For more information about Multilingual Kids visit https://sites.google.com/site/spanishimmersionadvocates/Home.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105