Our two kids were in the Chinese immersion summer camp for Renascence this year. They loved learning Chinese and couldn't wait to see their Chinese teacher every day. The teacher was naturally gifted with teaching kids and also very well trained, so she easily handled a variety of learning styles. The teacher made it energetic, creative, expressive and fun!!! The teacher used a variety of hands-on experiences to teach them, such as art and science and even origami, where she used Chinese while demonstrating the processes, so they quickly learned to comprehend instructions and the vocabulary associated with many different subject matters. She patiently encouraged their every effort, and helped them to move rapidly and sequentially from words to concepts to phrases and then to sentences and stories. She taught them to comprehend, speak and then read in Chinese all in just a few weeks. They came home reading short stories to us in Chinese. My husband and I were amazed and elated at their rapid progress. They started the summer barely being able to say, "My name is ... " and ended the summer by being able to quickly read sentences in Chinese characters. When shown a series of Chinese characters, my kids were able to successfully select the appropriate, verb, noun, adverb, possessive, etc, to use. There were good breaks during the day so they didn't feel like they were just sitting and learning one language. My kids enjoyed the STEM classes and getting to know other students in the school. And the sports segment, conducted in Spanish, was awesome, including soccer, basketball and even baseball. My kids aced their Spanish class as well. This is a brilliant school and I highly recommend it.
Where can I start? This has been an absolutely incredible school for my son. My son is not an easy child; however, the teachers here have stepped up to the challenge and made learning enjoyable for him. He loves going to school. His teachers are amazing; he absolutely adores his Chinese teacher.
We come from a non-mandarin speaking background and it has always been a dream of mine to have my son understand and speak fluent Mandarin when he grows up. It hasn’t been long since he started at Renascence School International, but he understands and is trying to speak quite a bit of Chinese already.
It is true that the school encourages academic learning, yet there are enough play and activities to motivate the students to learn and achieve outstanding results. Those results extend beyond the academic classroom and include good character building and social skills. Last semester, the entire school participated in a weekly character builders curriculum. Themes such as honesty, kindness, responsibility and patience were emphasized. Each week the children learned new traits that encouraged them to build and strengthen positive characteristics. Emails were sent to parents describing which trait the children had learnt that week and examples given on how they can encourage and apply that good behavior at home.
Some of our friends feared that learning 3 languages at the same time would be difficult for my son and might even make him fall behind with his English. Contrary to belief, my son started reading before he even turned 4 and is now doing well in all 3 languages. I feel so lucky to have found a school for my son to truly thrive at.
The directors and teachers have the child's' best interest at heart and we applaud their efforts at making sure each child gets what they need. This is a loving, caring, school experience that nurtures the best in every child. They will give your child what he needs to be successful, teach him that he is a productive, valuable member in the world, and show him how to give back.
What you don't see from the 5-star reviews is that there were a lot of parents who left the school this year and who didn't write bad reviews. The directors call them the "problem parents who are gone" and even though those parents know this, they won't post bad reviews just to be mean. I give this school 2 stars because my child did learn to speak Chinese. It's true that most of the 5-star reviews here were started by request from a marketing committee in 2013. If you want trilingual immersion school you should talk to those parents who left and are now at the two other OC Chinese immersion schools. Teacher turnover rate is high at RSI. No English teacher has ever stayed for more than one year and every year the directors blame it on the teacher. The best teachers that everyone raved about in older posts all left after 2014 or aren't coming back in 2016. Teachers are stressed out because a big part of their pay is based on how well the kids do on the quarterly tests. So the teachers end up teaching to a test which is exactly what you want to avoid by choosing private school. Parents are stressed out too because teachers constantly ask parents to do a lot of work at home so that the kids will do well on their assessments and they can get their bonus, which they hardly ever do. You can tell that the teachers aren't happy to be there- it shows in how they interact with the kids. Not a very warm environment. The preK teachers also have high turnover every year and are inexperienced in how to deal with little kids. Classrooms and desks are dirty and cluttered except for the night before open house when everything magically gets cleaned up. The school talks about an advanced curriculum but it's hard to get any details. The person who makes up the curriculum is in Florida and only comes in to run the assessments. She doesnt have a background in education or child development. Neither do the directors. They make an effort but they just don't know how to run a school. The curriculum is especially weak in English and History because those subjects are combined. The awards on their website about athletes, actors and science fair participants are very misleading because only two kids got all those awards and those two kids left the school. The directors intentions are good and they seem to want to help the kids but they just don't make good educational decisions.
I am not in marketing. In fact, the marketing committee at RSI was formed by a few moms and lasted a year. The moms asked other parents to voluntarily write comments about the school. There was no coercion to do it. My youngest has been attending for 2 years and is flourishing with the curriculum, atmosphere and with the teachers. My oldest son has focus and attention issues. The director Carrie has helped me in numerous ways to find a balance for my son. This year is more challenging so she hired a private tutor for him during school time. She was awesome. Unfortunately she's leaving for a few months but Carrie went out of her way to recommend Skype tutor time with the tutor and my son. The curriculum itself is pretty rigorous. But the majority of the kids absorbs all the information like sponges. My kids are learning so much. The school is not perfect, it is still relatively new (that is why I'm giving it a 4 star). I have talked to other parents that attend other immersion program schools and by far, this is the best one in OC. Definitely tour the school, talk to the parents, have your child sit in for one day and you are allowed to sit in a class as well.
Renascence surprises both parents and students by raising the bar for what young children can achieve academically. Our children started in preK, and they and their peers were taught an accelerated curriculum in Mandarin Chinese, as well as Spanish and English. The academic standards follow an international and not just US or Asian standard, and when the teachers and kids expected (and knew) nothing less, they absorbed math, Spanish and English at levels unseen in most other schools we've seen in CA, WA, and MA. Last year, we moved schools for a number of reasons, and send our kids to another highly regarded private school that has a heavy liberal arts focus taught only in English. We were concerned that since our kids were in Chinese immersion for 2.5 years, they may be behind their peers in their reading comp, vocabulary, and writing. However, Renascence gave them a solid foundation. They got outstanding grades in English, vocab and grammar this first semester at the new school. They also took the WISC IV IQ assessments, and their reading comp reconfirmed that their Chinese immersion education did not negatively impact their English education at all.
I give this school a two star, only because my child did learn chinese. The behavior problems of some of the kids is disruptive to the class and the teachers stand by and let it happen. My child was hit by another child and nothing was done! Teachers...oops, their not teachers. Just people with speciality background. But, definitely not trained to educate young minds and keep unruly children in line. I am glad that we have found another school and never finished the year at a school where they don't feel their perfect system is flawed (despite the countless complaints and unhappy parents who feel stuck because they want their child to learn a language) when it is filled with them and no interest in change. Take all reviews with caution, speak to several current parents (not provided by the owner), visit the school more then once. The reviews are so misleading. This school unfortunately is NOT a 5 star!
Truly an amazing school! The advanced academics and language instruction are unparalleled. My daughter attended Renascence School Int'l (RSIOC) for 2 years. Although she started with no language background, she is now able to communicate effectively in 3 different languages. Sadly, my job recently transferred me out of state and I have not been able to find another program that can compare. Although we found another Chinese immersion school, it lacks the advanced curriculum and Spanish instruction. My daughter is at the top of her class at her new school and her teachers are very impressed with her Chinese and how expressive she in the language. Even though my child is no longer a student at RSIOC, the director of the school has continued to graciously provide advice, support, and resource recommendations as we struggle to provide a similar experience to the one she had while attending RSIOC. We greatly miss all the faculty, staff and families that make this school so unique and special. We will definitely return here when we move back to the area in a couple of years. I highly recommend this school to any parent who desires a high-quality, one-of-a-kind education for their child!
My daughter just finished summer camp here, and we now have her enrolled her for fall. She was excited to attend everyday; having several different teachers for different languages. I am thrilled my daughter will be exposed to different teachers throughout the day; not creating a dependency upon one teacher. As a mom, I was thrilled to get to know some parents. It's a parental culture that exudes support, happiness and calm. This summer's program was about gardening and cooking; while getting lots of physical exercise, language exposure and academics. I am very excited to be a part of a new organization that will grow with a positive attitude. I wish I had an opportunity for this type of school when I was young. I'm very proud to be a part of a groundbreaking educational platform!!! Leigh. Mother of starting 1st grader.
Do beware that most of these reviews are from the Marketing Committee. On that note - the academics itself is quite impressive with my child being able to identify colors and numbers in numerous languages. On the other hand - this is a new school so there are A LOT of learning pains. We decided to try the Summer Camp and even in that 4 week period, there was a lot of teacher turnover and no communication about it. We would just show up one day and it's a different teacher. You would think that with the sensitivity of young children, parents should be informed if there will be someone new watching their kids so they can prepare them for new surroundings. It's a shame that the directors are parents themselves and do not have this consideration.
My 4 year old attended one session of summer camp this summer and she absolutely loved it. From day one she was repeating newly learned Chinese words and sought out Spanish and Chinese word flash cards on our Iphone to review what she had learned. She also loved her teacher Ms. Banks who is very kind and encouraging. She grew her own bean plant, learnt about soil, compost, worms and five senses. All in short four weeks. She already misses her teachers and friends she made. We would gladly re-enroll but have to relocate. I highly recommend this school for parents looking for a school with emphasis on foreign languages and fostering curious minds.