Leigh Miller for GlobalAtlanta
Atlanta students can gain an edge in their future business careers by learning the Chinese language and culture through a new after-school program called “Kid Chinese” in various Atlanta-area elementary schools.

Kid Chinese involves Kindergarten through fifth grade students spending one hour after school with China-born teachers to learn to understand, speak, read and write Mandarin Chinese and learn about Chinese culture and history. They also spend one hour in an online course scheduled with a teacher who is based in China and viewed via the Internet. Students and parents are given materials to study on their own time using the Web site www.kidchinese.com.

Carol Liu, founder of Kid Chinese and president of the China-America Language and Culture Exchange Center, is currently interviewing teachers who speak fluent Mandarin and English to teach the courses.

The program, which began Sept. 5, is currently being offered in five public elementary schools and one private school in the metro Atlanta area. But Ms. Liu said she plans to roll out the program to some 40 schools next semester.

Demand is high for the course, Ms. Liu told GlobalAtlanta, noting that parents of middle and high school children and of kids in schools that do not yet offer the program are already calling her to request Chinese classes for their kids.

“Parents want their kids to learn Chinese because China’s economy is growing so quickly, and they want their kids to get great jobs in the future,” Ms. Liu said.

“Learning [Mandarin] earlier is better because for children there is no difference between languages,” she added.

Parents do not need to know Chinese, but they are encouraged to be involved in their children’s study, Ms. Liu said.

Ms. Liu is in the process of hiring teachers in China and bringing them here to help teach the courses. She said she is also open to recruiting China-born teachers who live here.

In the future, Ms. Liu hopes to add an interactive component to the course that would allow Atlanta students to view and communicate with classrooms of children in China.

Kid Chinese is currently available at the following elementary schools: Findley Oaks, Lake Windward, Medlock Bridge, State Bridge Crossing, Wilson Creek and. It is also being offered at Woodward Academy North for grades K-6.

For more information, contact Ms. Liu at (678) 957-4968 or carol.liu@kidchinese.com. Visit www.kidchinese.com.