COSTA MESA — Local families interested in giving their children a multilingual education gathered in Costa Mesa on Saturday for the grand opening of a new private school.
Renascence School International celebrated the opening of its second location at 2987 Mesa Verde East with a Chinese lion dance, ribbon-cutting ceremony, tours of the school and a speech by the school's founder Juliann Talkington.
"What we're trying to do with this school is prepare kids for this new world, new reality," she said, referring to the global community. "The whole goal of the program is to create a child with unlimited possibilities."
Talkington opened the first Renascence School in Panama City, Fla., teaching students English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The private school uses an international curriculum that combines the best from different cultures, she said.
The school also de-emphasizes the use of technology to encourage students to think creatively, puts importance on cultivating healthy eating habits and instills character and values, said Carrie Mizera, executive director at the Orange County campus.
The chance to have her 4-year-old son continue speaking Mandarin Chinese is what attracted Mizera and her husband Thomas Mizera, the director of admissions, to reach out to Renascence and bring the school to Costa Mesa.
"I was totally amazed by their program and what they offer," Carrie Mizera said.
For Newport Coast parents Christine and Howard Cohn, the language component is what attracted them to the school. Their 6-year-old daughter is already signed up to start kindergarten at Renascence in September.
"The way of the future is language," said Christine Cohn, adding that being multilingual is necessary to compete in a world market and opens the doors to other languages.
At the school, students become fluent in the three languages in a matter of weeks to months, Carrie Mizera said.
"In less than a year, they can have a good handle on the language, at least conversationally," she said.
About 16 students are already enrolled in the school, which is accepting children ages 3 to 7. Each year, an additional grade level will be added, Carrie Mizera said.
The school is looking to enroll 30 students its first year to keep student-to-teacher ratios low, about 6:1 As the school expands, Carrie Mizera said the ratio will be 15:1.
"We really just want to make sure they get that quality education they deserve," she said.