Plymouth Elementary families and students controlled Monrovia High robots, assembled LED circuit postcards from scratch, sampled sweet Chinese mooncakes and watched dual-language Mandarin students perform a classic Chinese tale during the school’s second annual Moon and Stars Night on Sept. 21.
This year’s event combined science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) activities with the mid-autumn festival celebrations to represent the school’s key programs in Mandarin and coding.
Fifth-grader Michael Pamintuan, who is involved in the Code to the Future program, said he enjoyed learning about a new culture by interacting with his peers and attending the school’s event.
“I think it is interesting that the school has a program that teaches other people how to speak a different language,” Pamintuan said. “My favorite part of Code to the Future is learning about Minecraft coding because I find it fun and I get to experiment with the Minecraft programming language.”
Plymouth offers a Mandarin dual-immersion program for students in kindergarten through third grade, expanding to a higher grade each year until reaching fifth grade. The program teaches students to become bilingual in Mandarin, while developing an appreciation for Chinese culture.
Katrina Ho, who teaches kindergarten and first-grade dual immersion, was an organizer of the festival. She has two children in Plymouth’s Mandarin program – one in second grade and one in kindergarten.
“We wanted them to learn a second language, and the fact that Plymouth offers coding and a second language was just amazing,” Ho said. “My second-grader started in kindergarten and she has learned a lot. For her to understand and speak Mandarin and sing songs, it has been amazing.”
Code to the Future, a leading creator of immersive computer science curricula, teaches foundational coding skills to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, introducing more advanced coding language and programs as students continue through each grade level.
“Monrovia Unified provides an educational foundation for our students to be prepared for careers in the greater community,” Monrovia Unified President Terrence Williams said. “Thank you to Plymouth Elementary for organizing school events that bring together the community to showcase our students’ talents and celebrate cultures.”
Monrovia’s Old Town Sidewalk Astronomers also set up telescopes for students and families to take a closer peek at the night sky.
“One of Monrovia Unified’s top priorities is preparing our students to be successful in a multilingual and multicultural society, which includes the coding world,” Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “Monrovia Unified offers opportunities for our elementary students to build on their foundational knowledge through middle and high school so that they can apply their skills in college and beyond.”