I LOVE PILA. We are coming from a biracial family and it is so important to me that my kids pick up another language. PILA provides the best immersion program in the South Bay area. In addition, the sister program SVIS (for K to 5th grade) is a full time program. It gives the comfort to know that my kids can go out to study Chinese and Spanish in full day. I highly recommend you get a tour from the school
Our daughter began to attend this school in the second grade. She started with a minimal knowledge of Mandarin, but completed the kindergarten and first-grade Mandarin curriculum in her first year. At the same time she also completed the third-grade English program. We are extremely pleased with this school's ability to tailor its academic program to allow our daughter to excel in the areas where she is already strong and to bring her up to speed in the areas in which she was behind her grade level. The teachers and the principal are very dedicated to making sure the children have a great education. I recommend this school not only for its Mandarin program, but also for its high standards in all academic subjects. Moreover, the frequent field trips enable the students to experience and enjoy the various subjects that they study. In short, I heartily recommend this school.
As a bilingual parent, I searched for bilingual educational options for my child. I gave Premier/PILA a try, but have moved my child to a different school. Mandarin: I found the Mandarin "immersion" program to be less than adequate. When multiple parents, including me, began doubting their children's progress, we had our children evaluated at other schools. We found that attending PILA did not allow our children to keep pace with children at other bilingual (Mandarin/English) schools or even allow our children to keep pace with those who only attend afternoon or weekend Mandarin classes. Thus, the vast majority of the families have chosen not to return to PILA. Bullying: Irrespective of the academics, I would not recommend Premier because of its attitude towards bullying. Facilities: Old and run down. The campus has not been kept up. Roaches and lice are not uncommon. As the best fit for each child depends upon many factors, I wish the best to those searching for bilingual educational experiences. Here are a few options that you may wish to consider: Yew Chung, International School of the Peninsula Silicon Valley Chinese School and Tzu Chi Academy .
This is our first year at PILA, with a daughter in the Pre-K program for about five months now. This is a small and relatively new school with basic but spacious classroom facilities. What originally attracted us was the mission (to develop truly bi-lingual, bi-cultural students), the best of breed curriculum, and the very low student-teacher ratio. What has impressed us since starting is the awareness and attention to individual student needs and learning styles, the quality of the teaching, the quality of the other parents and students (it's a great bunch of kids who treat each other with respect), and the amazing results we've seen from our daughter, across all subjects, and in both Mandarin and English. We live all the way up in Fremont, but it's worth the drive and the hassle. Our daughter is happy and learning like crazy here, we're happy here and enjoy the other parents and their kids, and we're enthusiastically encouraging our friends who have an interest in a bilingual education to check this place out.
After reading so much recent negative reviews, we have our own doubts. A lot of the negative comments are valid concerns. This is our first year, and we are amazed by the amount of learning my kid has attained so far. He comes home and asks to do home work. We decided to sign up for this school because we like the teaching philosophy of the principal. It turns out that we are right on that. The principal and the teachers do have their ways to spark the kid's curiosity and leaning interest. We look forward to the school continuous improvement so that things get organized.
Different families are charged different rates and different fees. This place was rated an "F" by the BBB. This is really a homeschool that is unfortunately disorganized. The elementary "school" has a handful of children from K through 3rd grade, with each older class having less children. Multiple teachers have quit or have been fired; thus there is a huge turnover for such a small school. The administration also has been in flux. Children in the elementary school, if they have an pee accident, have been left to sit in their wet clothes. Children are left unsupervised with no teachers in the room.
This has been a wonderful bilingual school for our child for kindergarten and first grade. We've been happy with the curriculum and learning. My child is doing higher-level studies than what I would have anticipated for the age and grade. There was disorganization in the beginning of the academic year (primarily with the homework system), but I felt it was worked out after a few trials. And I've liked that the teachers and principal were willing to try a few different ways to see what will work. This school year, one Chinese teacher left and the spot was quickly replaced by another Chinese teacher that my child has liked. Overall, I've been pleased with my child's learning.
My child has been at the school over a year. Pros: Well meaning teachers. Small school allowing decent attention to students. Cons: Very disorganized - the curriculum and activities seem to have little direction. Lots of turnover in teachers. Small community that gossips alot. Take a look at the Yelp verified reviews.
Excellent school for bi-lingual education at early stage. I recommendate the school for immerse Chinese teaching environment. The school is big and nice too.
We have 2 kids attending school here, one in Jr-K, the other in 1st grade. We transferred both of them here from different bi-lingual schools that we were less satisfied with. Where other high-achieving schools have a tendency to create an overly competitive academic atmosphere, PILA maintains a positive, confidence-building atmosphere, which encourages the kids to challenge themselves. Consequently, they begin to really enjoy learning and push themselves to learn more.
My kids go here and they are having a great time. They always sing songs they have learned and can say words to each other Chinese now. They love the playgrounds, there are three of them, lots of open spaces to play, variety of teachers and programs, music, art, PE. There are plenty of fieldtrips. The teachers and administrator email or talk to me regularly about my kids. They are having a great year!
This is an awesome school. My kids have been in three immersion programs and this is the best program of the three. What makes this program better is that kids are grouped based on their ability so that my child is grouped with kids a grade above him for math and for reading he is with his peers. They have great student to teacher ratios and the teachers really understand the students and how they learn and are able to adapt their teaching styles. third, the school has a great library and computer lab. My kids love going to PILA.
PILA is awesome! Our daughter gets a personalized education not available anywhere else. They provide a well-rounded education strong on math, English, the sciences, and, of course, Mandarin. Also, instead of having to shuttle our daughter to piano or gymnastics lessons, we can just sign her up -- these opportunities are provided by the school in an integrated, after-school program specifically designed for working parents.
My kids have been here both years. No problems, very safe school. They learn a lot, have great fieldtrips, can read/write Chinese out of Taiwan schoolkids books.
My child has been here since August and he is so happy here. The teaching style is very good for kids and makes them want to learn Chinese. And the afterschool choices are great. My son is involved in everything, guitar, piano, kung fu, art. Children are allowed to work at their own level. My son's homework is different than other kids in some subjects to make it just right for him. We are glad we found this school.
My daughter has been at the school since February 2008 when she joined as a kindergartner full time student. She is fluent in Mandarin even though neither my husband nor I have had any Mandarin exposure. The class sizes are small and I feel like the school is a home away from home. My daughter gets help with her Mandarin homework after school which is great since she can't get any help at home. This is a full immersion program so Math and Science are also thought in Mandarin. The school also conveniently offers after-school activities involving Kung Fu, Music and Art classes. And most importantly of all for me, my daughter has fun at the school! But at the same time as a first grader she can add, subtract and multiply well. If you want your kid to learn Mandarin in a fun environment, I highly recommend PILA.
My son just attend the after school program, so far we have very good experience.
This school started out great with excellent teachers however teacher turnover was very high. In the first year our child in the K class had 3 different teachers come and go. When we heard the teachers from our first year were all leaving we too left. Very sad as we had had high hopes in the beginning.
We were very excited when we signed up our daughter to this school, but very disappointed by the quality of the school later on. The principle is not knowing how kids are doing even though the school is so small. We were told about the individual attention, etc., but things are very confusing here to both parents and the kids. I didn't see any attention to detail at all. However, we did like the art and music programs here. Every kid is different, so yes, do your research before you sign up, and be careful of what they promise.
We had high hopes for this school as there are not many bilingual Chinese programs available in the area. As a parent from last year, the school had a great start to its first year. However, issues of safety and curriculm changes mid-year ultimately led us (and about half of the families) to move to other schools. We hope for the best for the school but do your due diligence on what you're getting here before you sign up.
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