Here in Utah, elementary schools are adopting second language immerson programs for Chinese, French and Spanish. My brother just emailed me and told me that my six-year-old nephew was accepted to the Mandarin Chinese immersion program; he'll be starting next year when he enters first grade.
At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about elementary school kids spending half their day learning a language and the other half learning English. That's a lot for a little kid! But I think we forget how easily young children pick up languages - much easier than adults do. The more I've learned, the more converted I've become to the idea. I think it is fantastic. What an opportunity for children to be completely immersed in a language - that's what you need to actually learn it - not just going over vocabulary once a week.
And what amazing opportunites they'll have in their futures - work, missions, etc. And simply having a second language under their belt - I think that's great. It makes me feel a little pressure to keep up on my German.
Here is an article and TV spot that was done by our local news station on the topic. Interesting stuff.