Randy and Dana Moeller with their three children: Michael (5th), Matthew (3rd) and Katelyn (K). All three children are enrolled in Mandarin Immersion at Zeeland Christian School.

When our oldest was five and ready for kindergarten, it felt like a HUGE leap of faith to start Mandarin full-time. We started asking ourselves: “Is he ready for Chinese? How will he learn English? What if it’s hard?” 

After a lot of questioning, we realized we needed to change our perspective from asking hesitantly “what if” questions to a “will this” perspective to see the bigger picture. Our line of questioning changed to “Will he have unique opportunities and experiences through this education program? Will he be bilingual? Could he be trilingual? Will he have the capabilities to learn other languages in the future? Could God orchestrate a way to further his kingdom with our children learning Chinese?” 

We stopped, took a step back, and began to trust that God opened these doors for a reason for our children. What then felt like a giant leap to enroll our oldest in full-time Mandarin Kindergarten was a joy-filled step when we enrolled our youngest in kindergarten this past year.

What then felt like a giant leap to enroll our oldest in full-time Mandarin Kindergarten was a joy-filled step when we enrolled our youngest in kindergarten this past year.

When choosing Mandarin Immersion for each of our three children, we didn’t enter them into the program knowing what they would do for a career, nor did we know if they would use Mandarin at all for the rest of their lives. Maybe our current K, 3rd, or 5th grader will use their language capabilities for business, the military, or education. Perhaps they will be called to mission work and move to China. Perhaps they’ll stay right here and use their language. Regardless of their future, what we do hold true to is that God has plans for each of them, and it’s our job to equip them in whatever and by whatever means we can.

With regards to the Mandarin Immersion program, the fact is, our children have a unique opportunity to learn one of the most challenging languages in the world right here at Zeeland Christian School. We appreciate the Mandarin Immersion program because it fits so well with the ZCS Mission Statement of “Love God, Love Kids, Love Learning.” Each of the Mandarin teachers – and every teacher we have experienced at ZCS – has a unique story about their faith. They pour their hearts into the lives of these children, all while providing an excellent education. 

Regardless of their future, what we do hold true to is that God has plans for each of them, and it’s our job to equip them in whatever and by whatever means we can.

The behind-the-scenes reality for immersion students is as the teachers teach, whether it be Bible, math, or science, the students don’t realize how unique this way of learning is or how difficult learning a second language can be. They are so naturally and fully immersed in the language that it just makes sense to them. When we ask our children, “What did you learn in math today?” their answer is, “We practiced adding, multiplying, or dividing fractions.”  They do not come home and say, “We learned Mandarin.” 

All three Moeller children stand by Chinese New Year decorations outside a classroom.

As parents having no specific experience with the Mandarin language or Chinese culture, we can hardly begin to comprehend all that goes on in their brains. We have seen them develop in many areas, specifically how well they see detail and how they can work with others to solve problems. We have witnessed these life skills overlap into their everyday life on sports teams, general education, completing projects, and more. All the while, we see our children becoming more globally aware, engage in enriching relationships, and take on a unique role in the responsibility of their own learning. These kids are doing hard things (half the time, they don’t even know it), and it is fun to watch.

Seven years later, we are still glad we made that leap into the Mandarin Immersion program.

One of our favorite things to do as a family is travel. Although we have not made it to China yet, as the years have gone by, we have seen China come to us – on subways and shuttles, and at airports, Disney, etc. We love watching each of our kids as their eyes open, and they point to or read instructions in Mandarin or watch as their ears perk up when they hear an announcement over the intercom or a family speaking together in Mandarin. And although it is fun to watch these situations in action, it is remarkable when others ask why, how, where and we get to share our story, God’s story. And even more lately, it has been special to watch now as our kids want to share it with others themselves, in Mandarin.  

We believe that Zeeland Christian School has fantastic programs, and they offer so much in their education – what a gift to have a school with such great opportunities for our young ones! Zeeland Christian is full of exceptional leaders and teachers who live out the mission of ZCS and pour everything they have into their children, no matter what language they are educated in. Seven years later, we are still glad we made that leap into the Mandarin Immersion program.

Randy and Dana Moeller

泽兰基督教学校 – Escuela Cristiana de Zeeland – Zeeland Christian School is the only threeschool – 8th-grade school in the Midwest where your child can learn in a Christ-centered and tri-lingual environment where all abilities are welcome and celebrated. It’s what’s best for kids – and that’s what we’re all about.

If you would like information regarding enrollment or to schedule a tour, please contact Nakisha at ndejong@zcs.org. You can also visit www.zcs.org/explore to learn more.

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