For decades, Radnor Township resident Betty Foo has been educating children in Chinese language and culture. Foo, who started Hunan restaurant in Ardmore with her husband 40 years ago, is the force behind two Mandarin language schools that are held Saturdays at Radnor Middle School.
Foo started with Ming De, which is still in existence, as a school for children who may understand the language but don’t know how to write it. Later, she started Ding Hao after seeing an influx of Chinese children adopted by American families who had a desire for their children to learn their native language.
Both schools are run under the umbrella organization The Chinese Cultural Association of Greater Philadelphia, which provides cultural education and activities for students.
Ding Hao now also offers a 10-week program for toddlers (classes start on October 5 from 9:30 to 11 a.m.) and a conversation class for adults in addition to the small classes for ages 4 to 16.
“It’s so important to know another language,” said Phong Lee, a neighbor of Foo’s who signed her children up to Ding Hao two years ago. Lee moved from China to the United States when she was a child. “I want them to learn and the kids want to know more,” she said.
As China makes foreign adoptions more difficult, that heavy influx has ceased, Foo said, however now she is getting students with no connection to China who just want to learn the language.