This paper explores issues of teaching and learning Chinese as a heritage language in a Chinese heritage language school, the Zhonguo Saturday School, in Montreal, Quebec. With a student population of more than 1000, this school is the largest of the eight Chinese Heritage Language schools in Montreal. Students participating in this study were from seven different classes (grade K, two, three, four, five, six, and special class), their ages ranging from 4 to 13 years. The study took place over a period of two years between 2000 and 2002. Focusing on primary level classroom discourse and drawing on the works of Vygotsky and Bakhtin, I examine how teachers and students use language to communicate, and how their communication mediates teaching, learning and heritage language acquisition. Data sources include classroom observations, interviews with students and their teachers, students' writings, and video and audio taping of classroom activities. Implications for heritage language development and maintenance are discussed with reference to the findings of this study.