The class time is only 3 hours per week for the regular classes in PCS. Except the learning in the classroom, the students are expected to continue their studies at home through the homework assigned by the teachers.
Following is a list of prerequisites and an explanation of why the requirement is necessary:
- Mandarin conversation ability. The teaching of the classes, starting from kindergarten, will be conducted mostly in Mandarin, and the students need to be able to understand and speak basic Mandarin to communicate with the teacher and the classmates. If the student doesn't speak any Mandarin, he needs to be enrolled into the preparation class for building up basic Mandarin conversation ability.
- Proficient Chinese speaker at home. As stated above, there simply will not be enough time in class for the teacher to teach everything that is required. A significant part of the student's coursework will need to be done at home with the help of a proficient Chinese speaker (who can read/speak/write Chinese well).
- Student's Age. The curriculum at PCS is designed to match a standard K-12 program. Thus, the ages of students in each grade is similar to that found in a regular American school. The minimum ages for the preparation and the kindergarten classes are 4 and 5 respectively. For students who wish to start their Chinese school at older ages, their proficiency in Chinese language will need to be evaluated and they will be placed in the most suitable class.
- Students who learned Chinese in simplified characters: They can still be enrolled into PCS after evaluation and class placement. However, PCS teaches Chinese in traditional characters and phonics (i.e. Bopomofo) and doesn't teach Hanyu Pinyin till 5th grade. The students need to adapt to a learning environment (lecturing/homework/tests) with traditional Chinese characters and phonics.