Mandarin Language School

At PlayThrive School, we educate the whole child in a Mandarin Immersion environment. We are here to complement your child’s educational experience with explorative play, social emotional learning and project based learning. We believe in a student-centered approach where children are active participants in their own education and are self-motivated by their passions. Here, children are empowered to learn about themselves, others, and the tools to shape the world.


  • Open to Kindergarten to 5th grade students concurrently enrolled at Orion School
  • Kindergartens: 1:30 to 6 PM, Grades 1 to 5: 2:30 to 6 PM
  • Thursdays and all other minimum days (Orion School schedule): 12:30 to 6 PM
  • Located at Orion Elementary School, 555 Avenue Del Ora, Redwood City, CA
  • Hands-on, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – focused curriculum
  • Low teacher-student ratio
  • Assistance in both English and Mandarin homework
  • In-depth thematic projects
  • Student choice of activities such as music, art, stories, nature, science, maker lab, weaving, kung-fu, math and games


  • Hands-on and meaningful
  • Student-centered
  • Social emotional matters


We find teachers that enjoy playing with children, love being surprised by their endless creativity, and trust every student has the superpower to find answers.

We believe our teachers are amazing people that can tackle challenges with solutions that have never been imagined.

We support our teachers with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow together:

  • Weekly teacher support group
  • Monthly rotation to ‘be a student’ in other classrooms
  • Monthly internal training
  • Annual Social Emotional Learning workshop at Responsive Classroom


PlayThrive programs are designed to encourage curiosity. The curriculum, outdoor and classroom environments invite children to explore and take an active role in their learning. The goal is to develop each child’s understanding of themselves, others, the surrounding world and how it works, and their own self-confidence.

At PlayThrive, children learn:

  • Social Emotional Skills – PlayThrive teachers are on the lookout for opportunities throughout the day to help children to learn more about themselves and others, and practice skills for managing their emotions and interacting with their peers.
  • Mandarin Language – Every learning station, project, and activity that students participate in during the afternoon uses a curriculum developed to meet a specific Mandarin learning objective. Additionally, each classroom’s thematic project follows the language progress of the John Gill Mandarin Immersion program.

Our curriculum topics ranging from Chinese cultural events, nature, SEL, and topics that the students find intriguing.

The curriculum is delivered via:

  • Exploratory Play Time – Children start each afternoon at PlayThrive at Exploratory Play Stations that invite students to explore 5 areas: Arts, Literacy, Pretend Play, Science, and Problem-Solving
  • Thematic Projects – We ask questions such as “How does a spider weave a web?”, “How do people prepare for Chinese New Year 100 years ago vs. now?” and get busy with the students to find answers, or more questions!
  • CHOICE Activities – Each of our multi-talented teaching staff brings a passion or two to share with all the students. Chess, origami, story time, clay, nature, or maker projects are a few examples. Students get to dive deep or try something new in a small, multi-age class setting.
  • Daily Routines – Especially in the Kindergarten class, students build fundamental Mandarin vocabulary through daily routines such as snack time, lining up, and transitions.

In Program Classes

All PlayThrive students are offered Kung-Fu and Music classes. These classes are included in the tuition. No additional fees are required.

Enrichment Classes

PlayThrive also offers Abacus, Theater, and Lion Dance classes at various times during the school year for an additional fee. Families are invited to sign up via email when the class schedules and details are confirmed.

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