Montessori Kinder Plus German Language school has received accreditation from the German Central Agency for Schools Abroad through its Schools: Partners for the Future (PASCH) initiative.
The accreditation was made official in a ceremony at the school on Friday.
The PASCH initiative has created a worldwide network of German language schools.
“I am very honored and I am so excited that you guys [came]… to celebrate this historic moment with us. And for us, it truly is a historic event,” executive director Brigitta Hoeferle said.
Thomas Wülfling, deputy consul general for the Germany consulate in Atlanta, presented Hoeferle and teacher Lisp Eulo with a plaque during the ceremony.
“It is a great pleasure to be here today,” Wülfling said. “Americans have the advantage or disadvantage, whatever the case may be of having a global language and therefore less incentive to learn other languages. … Learning languages in this growing globalized world is one of the most important investments.”
Eulo thanked the community leaders present for celebrating the moment with them.
“I appreciate you for harboring a culture of encounter in this community,” Eulo said. “Germans believe in this culture of encounter… it begins with education.”
Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce President Gary Farlow said having a language program with such accreditation was “an asset” to Cleveland.
Farlow said German companies Wacker and Volkswagen represent a large investment into the Tennessee economy.
“We are excited about what that means to our community in a variety of ways,” Farlow said. “One it is a great capital and jobs for our community, but also it is an opportunity for us to learn other cultures.”
He said MKplus is a way for the children of German manager expatriates coming here to work for a few years an opportunity to continue to study their language.
He said this will help the students to have a smooth transition back to school when they return to Germany.
“We intend to work even harder to find other German companies that will be coming here as well,” Farlow said.
Cleveland/Bradley Industrial Development Board chairman Ross Tarver said he had encouraged his children to learn another language and is pleased with the increased opportunities for those in Bradley County.
“This is a big day, and it started as a dream,” Tarver said. “It’s not about one person it is about the whole.”
The dream for this accreditation began for Montessori Kinder Plus six years ago.
According to a MKplus press release, “The history of MKplus spans as far into the past as 10 years ago, when a group of young German and American parents in Cleveland decidedtheir bilingual children will have a place of nurturing structure and academic support in order to continue their efforts to learn German in words and in culture.”
The program has expanded to providing an opportunity for non-native German speakers to learn the language while experiencing the culture.