Playgroup needs a venue
A local playgroup is looking for a new home so it can open its doors to families wanting their children to learn how to play, sing, and speak in Mandarin.
The playgroup, known as Shuang Xing or Double Star, needs a new venue for its regular Saturday morning sessions, after recently being told it could not operate from a Mt Eden early childhood centre because it breached council rules.
“It seems really difficult to find an ideal place. Every time we find a venue, it either shuts down or we discover they can’t accommodate us,” says Chinese language educator and parent Raewyn Ho.
“We’d love an environment with a playground that’s legally available on Saturday mornings.”
Shuang Xing was started by Ms Ho in 2007 and was originally based in Mission Bay before moving to Remuera and then Mt Eden.
Ms Ho, a third-generation Chinese New Zealander, only began learning Mandarin when she went to university and says although Chinese is not her children’s first lan- guage either, she knows it’s important they grow up learning about their heritage.
“It’s based on the New Zealand curriculum delivering education through play, but it is all instructed in Mandarin,” says the mother of three.
“There are quite a few New Zealand Chinese who don’t speak Chinese but there will always be lots of opportunities to use it.”
Ms Ho taught secondary school Mandarin before becoming a parent and now volunteers at the Confucius Institute and Chinese Language Foundation promoting Chinese language and culture in New Zealand schools.
She also works parttime for Auckland University, training teachers in Chinese language instruction.
“I went to China for a year and Taiwan for a year after finishing university but my Mandarin has only really improved since starting the playgroup,” she says.
“It’s also a nice community for meeting families interested or from Chinese or Malaysian backgrounds.”
For more information phone 027-290-5276.
Fully immersed: Preschoolers Hamish Young, 2, left, Charlotte Waishing, 4, and Elliot Young, 4, learn Mandarin through educational play.