Academic Overview

NWCA provides an engaging, challenging and inquiry-based academic program of science, math, social studies, art and music taught in Mandarin Chinese by native Chinese speakers who specialize in the subjects they teach.  All of our students from kindergarten through 6th grade also participate in a comprehensive English Language Arts program.

Our curriculum follows state and national education standards for English, science and math and our Mandarin immersion program follows Beijing’s curriculum standards. NWCA’s teaching staff combines the best of Chinese and American principles and methodologies to deliver our unique and rewarding curriculum.


NWCA holds candidate status for Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools (PNAIS) and is licensed by the State of Oregon Child Care Division.

Our curriculum follows the Oregon State Academic Content Standards and the Beijing Standard for Chinese language and mathematics. The Beijing Standard in mathematics exceeds Oregon standards.

In the spring of 2011, NWCA 3rd through 5th grade students took the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test.

  • 100% of NWCA students met Oregon State expectations for their grade level in math and reading.
  • 91% exceeded Oregon State expectations for their grade level in Reading.
  • 70% exceeded Oregon State expectations for their grade level in Math.
  • 67% exceeded Oregon State expectations for their grade level in Science.


Each May, NWCA students are encouraged to take the YCT or HSK tests.  These are standardized tests designed by the Beijing Language and Culture University to assess the written and verbal proficiency for non-native Mandarin speakers.  The HSK tests are typically administered to adults. 100% of NWCA students who take the YCT and HSK tests consistently achieve scores in the top 10%.

True (or Full) Language Immersion

True immersion is how all children naturally acquire language and an understanding of culture – by listening to and using language all day and by participating in music, art, games, and the sharing of stories. The more exposure children have to a first, second or third language, the more it becomes a part of who they are. At NWCA, our students spend 90% of their day listening to and using Mandarin Chinese from the moment they are greeted at the door in the morning to when they depart for home in the late afternoon.

Inquiry-based learning

Students are naturally inquisitive. At NWCA, all students learn in an interactive environment.  Our small classes foster in-depth discussions and hands-on activities. Our students don’t just sit and listen to teachers.  They ask questions. They study science by exploring concepts with hands-on experiments. They don’t just practice vocabulary words and read books.  They write, they discuss what they’ve read, and they gain the confidence to develop and present their own stories. They don’t just learn how to read music. They perform it!