Queen Margaret Pre-School students started learning Mandarin in Term 3 with the help of a panda soft toy named Lanlan.
Queen Margaret College Chinese Language Assistants Jessica He and Justina Que teach the children Mandarin twice a week with Lanlan’s assistance.
So far the children have learnt how to introduce themselves to Lanlan and others, sing songs and count to 10.
Head of the Pre-School, Emily Domican, says the Mandarin lessons came as part of a collaboration with the College’s language department as early childhood education was an excellent time to discover different languages and cultures.
Nearly a third of the children enroled at QM Pre-School are native Mandarin speakers, with English as a second language.
“It was initially suggested as support for the girls who spoke Mandarin at home. We surveyed parents and many were keen for their children to have some Mandarin included as part of the Pre-School programme,” Emily says.
“The lessons are very relaxed and children are invited to participate as opposed to it being compulsory.”
Jessica says she enjoys teaching the children and is pleased by how quickly they pick it up.
“We are glad the children are interested in Mandarin and we have learnt a lot from the kids,” she says.
Jessica says she is very impressed with how quickly the children have picked up phrases and nursery rhymes after using colouring in and number games to help them learn.
“All the girls and boys surpassed our expectations and were so good at memorising the words. We were amazed by them.”
“The children enjoyed colouring in the pictures and we got the chance to see all different styles of creativity. Their work was fantastic,” Jessica says.
Lessons would continue until the end of the year with the potential to start again in 2018.