top of page
Little Feet

Our Philosophy

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and Care Provider

What's the Hurry?

Young children are in a critical period of spoken language development from birth to age six. Most adult conversational language is in place by the age of six. Children naturally strive to learn language in their own environment during this critical  development stage. Exposure to sounds and tones in a second language and music would benefit children immensely in brain development and sets the stage for future learning opportunities.


Chinese is unique with having four tones for each syllable with up to four meanings. Many adult learners struggle to master these tones as they would also for slight variations in musical sounds, but young children can easily absorb and learn the intonation and differences. Starting your child early will help “train” their ears in order to build the foundation for future language and music development.

Through her years of study and observation, Maria Montessori discovered what she called “sensitive periods.” Sensitive periods are developmental windows of opportunity during which the child can learn specific concepts more easily and naturally than at any other time in their lives. A child in the midst of a sensitive period will show an especially strong interest or inclination toward certain activities or lessons. "At such a time everything is easy; all is life and enthusiasm." - Maria Montessori

Around age three, children experience a sensitive period for learning rhythm, pitch, melody, and more. This si the best time to introduce music to your child. Music develops the brain, leading to academic, social, and emotional growth. At Philadelphia Chinese Academy, music is a key part of our curriculum.

We firmly believe in effortless and fun bilingual education for children.  Kids before the age of six are eager linguistic and musical geniuses and the sooner they start, the easier language and music learning will become. With our group of highly qualified native Mandarin Chinese educators with master's degrees in education and a set of specially designed teaching curriculum using music and guided play, learning will be fun, dynamic and effective.  

Our Staff

Formal training and love of learning is important to us!

This is why we hire teachers who hold master's degrees in education. Not only do we adore children but our staff receives advanced training on understanding the philosophy and science behind what it means to be a child.

Alena Lin.jpg

Alena Lin

Early Childhood Teacher

Alena is a native Mandarin speaker and is our Chinese speaking teacher in the early childhood room. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in early childhood education and her Montessori certification at Chestnut Hill College. Alena was born in Virginia and grew up in Taiwan. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Fu Jen Catholic University and is a certified education giver in Taiwan. Before her move back to the US, she had experience working in both Chinese and English-speaking schools as an assistant teacher. She loves working with children and has experience in leading various activities, especially as a Chinese tutor and an art teacher. Alena enjoys developing baking classes for young children, painting, cooking, traveling, and of course, spending time with kids!

Anna Simmons.PNG

Anna Simons

Early Childhood Lead Teacher

Anna is fluent in German and English and is the lead English speaking teacher in our early childhood room. Throughout her decades of teaching experience with young children, Anna has taught in many different school environments, the latest in a Montessori School. Anna holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Temple University. She is currently completing her second Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education with a Montessori certificate from Chestnut Hill College.  In addition, Anna is a Certified Level 2 Music Together Teacher. Anna loves gardening, singing, baking, especially bread, taking walks in different neighborhoods, playing the recorder, kayaking in Maine and learning new skills like spinning wool.


Caru Echenique

Spanish Teacher

Señorita Caru is our Spanish teacher. Born in Venezuela, she was raised until the age of 6 by her force-of-nature grandmother, Manina, while her parents pursued their medical careers abroad. Caru’s immigrant parents were a great influence in her deep appreciation and passion of her Latino roots, which she strives to apply to every aspect of life. Her parents also taught her the significance of humanitarian work and service.
Caru brings to PCA her profound belief in the importance of language development at a young age, and the duty taught by her parents to serve and give back to her community. Caru believes in the power of a second language so much that she was inspired to start a Spanish learning group in her home for her daughter Cecilia which began her journey to become a teacher. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in International Relations/Latin American Politics. She also holds a Juris Doctor from The University of the District of Columbia. After graduation from law school, she served as an advocate for Latino families with children with Special Needs. When she moved to Philadelphia, she founded a language services company where she spent 5 years empowering the community through Language Access.  Caru’s myriad of cultural and professional 


Dale You

Director and Lead Toddler Teacher

Dale ensures that the school runs well and our students have a beautiful as well as nurturing environment to learn. Dale’s own parents nurtured her cultural and language ties to China after immigrating to Boston when she was 10 years old. She graduated from Wellesley College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations. Before she discovered her passion for language education of children, Dale worked for decades in finance and real estate all over the world with multinational corporations including Morgan Stanley and Tishman Speyer and managed over $5 billion of capital for institutional investors worldwide. In her role as a senior finance executive, Dale saw firsthand the value that understanding Chinese culture and language brings to her professional and personal life. In 2014, when her first child was born, Dale combed the Philadelphia area for a place where her own children can receive Mandarin language instruction. Frustrated at the lack of quality programming, she decided to launch Philadelphia Chinese Academy in 2018 with co-founder Peggy Liu.  Dale is pursuing both her Infant Toddler as well as her Early Childhood Montessori certifications. She loves cooking soups, marinades, rubs and sauces!

Peizhu Headshot.jpeg

Peggy Liu

Co-Founder, Language Education Director

In her role with PCA, Peggy designs our curriculum and leads our teachers on providing engaging as well as age appropriate interactions with our students. Peggy is mom to Amelia. She grew up in China and received a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Chinese Linguistics and Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. She moved to New York with her husband and received her dual Master’s Degree in TESOL and Teaching Chinese a Foreign Language from New York University. Currently, Peggy is pursuing her PhD in Chinese immersion education for children at the University of Pennsylvania. Peggy taught at various Mandarin immersion schools in Boston and New York prior to working on her doctorate degree. As a firm believer of language immersion education, Peggy puts a lot of effort into developing engaging language lessons where students not only learn Mandarin, but also math, science, social studies, arts and music. Peggy loves playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her family. 

Qixing Fall_edited_edited.jpg

Violet Zhang

Music Director

Violet is our music director and she develops original Mandarin children's songs and dance activities for our talented staff. She plays the piano, fluent, guitar, ukulele, and bass. Violet grew up in China and completed her bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Zhejiang Conservatory of Music, one of the top conservatories in China. She started her life long passion for music when she was only 2 years old with her mother and then began her formal music training on the piano when she was 4 years old. Violet's mother is a primary school teacher in China who loves guiding young minds and is an inspiration to Violet's professional life. Violet received her Master's Degree in Music Education from Temple University's Boyer School of Music and Dance. Violet's teaching philosophy is that music and movement are effective mediums for children to acquire new language as well as develop their overall cognitive abilities. Violet loves cooking and photography.

bottom of page