I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published February 2nd 2012
My parents do it. Kevin Rudd does it. Over one billion people in the world do it. And I want my children to be able to do it too. Yes, speaking Chinese seems to be a good skill to acquire nowadays. At the world stage, China is set to follow USA very closely as the biggest economy, and closer to our backyard, Chinese investments in Western Australia's mining companies mean sooner or later we will have to deal with Chinese speaking blokes.
How do we get about doing it though? Some schools offer Chinese as their Language Other Than English (LOTE) so kids who go there will be taught Chinese as part of their study, but the rest of us must look elsewhere for our skill enhancement. So, based on what you have heard or experienced, where do you think is the best place to learn Chinese in Perth?
To start us off, let us look at Chung Wah Chinese School. Chung Wah Association has been mentioned a lot in the local news recently as they were the managing committee for the first ever 2012 Perth Chinese New Year street festival. Judging from the number of visitors (reported as between 10.000 and 30.000 people), it seemed to be a successful event which bode well for the continuation of the festival into future years. The association has run three weekend Chinese School for years, two south of the river (where most of Perth's Chinese speaking people reside), namely in Rossmoyne and Leeming; and another one north of the river in the suburb of Noranda. Is any of them the best there is in Perth? You tell me, please.
Another Chinese School with multiple locations is the Five Star Chinese School. They follow Beijing curriculum closely, which means lessons will be mostly based on pinyin (the system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet). I visited one of their branches which conduct classes every Saturday morning during school terms at John Forrest Senior High School, Morley. I was quite impressed with the teacher who gave my kids their trial lesson. She was a native speaker with bubbling enthusiasm, and she patiently coaxed my reluctant son to copy the few Chinese words she uttered, with success I might add. But one battle does not win the war, so judgement reserved here.
Last but not least, Perth Chinese School operates out of Yokine Primary School every Sunday morning 9.30 am-12 pm during school terms. They have adult conversational and children language classes and optional martial art practice after school. If you happened to watch the Chinese New Year concert in January 2012 at Northbridge Piazza and noticed the elderly lady singing a Chinese song very competently (our own Susan Boyle, I thought at the time), well, she is the headmaster of this Chinese School. Of course, singing capability is not an indication of the quality of the Chinese lessons given, so the question remains, is this the best?
Ms. Hong from the Perth Chinese School singing at the Chinese New Year concert.
Is any of the Chinese Schools listed any good in your opinion? Is there any other school not yet mentioned? Please leave us your comments so that those of us stuck at "Ni hao" could progress from our meagre skill.
My kids go to Perth Chinese School located in Yokine Primary School on Sunday. It is the best Chinese School in Perth. This school provides a fun and nurturing environment for kisd hrough an activities based program. My kids love it.
So my son goes to the Leeming Chinese School Kindy (the only non-Asian child in class) on Saturday mornings and he is doing quite well. Slowly, slowly but now that he has had a term there and we've had a playdate with all the kids outside of school he is far more comfortable. However he does struggle as the teacher goes quite fast and it is only 3 hours every week (concentration starts to fall off in the last hour!!) with not much back up at home. Neither myslef or my husband speak Mandarin - well I do a little but not enough to really help! So we have found Diane
(08) 6161 6262 0438 973 254
She runs her own school ( a specially built classroom in her back garden, with waiting room for the parents) and takes 8 students a class. The classes run during the week and are for under 5's. FABULOUS! My son loves them singing, games - a much more fun way to learn...and more expensive. Diane's school is based in Mt Claremont. I am hoping once my son gets into the swing of things Leeming will be enough for him to be able to keep up with it until Yr 12 without any extra tuition but we will see. More high schools need to offer Mandarin as a subject!
I don't think there'd be an absolute "best" in this case, as there are many different methods to language teaching and learning process, which these schools represent. From our experience having tried three places, I'd say ultimately it goes back to how we enforce practice the learnings from school at home.
Check out Leader Education in Nedlands, Enrolled my 2 years old goes there every Tuesday for the 45 lesson and she loves it. the program incorporate chinese as well as craft. Check out theirwww.leadereducation.com.au,
Enrolled into this Centre. I did not have much of an expectation before coming to ACCS but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I have enjoyed the lessons each week. ACCS has also surprised me at how much I am able to learn and absorb in such a short amount of time. I really appreciate the resources that ACCS has also provided with the workbook and sound recordings of the conversations that we listen to in class.
I know of Australasian Centre of Chinese Studies (ACCS) who has been in Melbourne and in Sydney, and just recently started in Perth.
Worth checking them out athttp://www.accschinese.com They have a pretty good reputation in both Melbourne and Sydney. Let us know how you go with them.
Chung Wah is definitely the best school for kids and adults to learn Mandarin. The teachers are excellent and come from mainland China, so they know what they're talking about (even though the accents may change depending on where they're from). The teaching is methodical and focuses on reading, writing and speaking and everything from Chinese culture to business to food are also discussed.
For past 2 years I was desperately looking for a "niche and small" Chinese class for my daughter who is 6 this year however the options are not many in Perth area. Even I and my wife can speak and read some Chinese but we don't think we have enough skills to teach our girl the basic Chinese at home
neither can get her a warm feeling towards learning Chinese as a second language or knowing anything about traditional Chinese culture. Luckily we met Heidi (0450097393,www.perthchineseclass.com) who is running a small-size Chinese language school Aussin Education at Cannington Leisureplex. We had a trial lesson on Saturday morning and the result was not bad at all. The class is small (6-8 kids) but pretty fun and joyful, the teacher speaks both Chinese and English fluently to teach and communicate, on and off the class. I could see my girl is "engaged" in the class, getting sufficient attention from the teacher and she was playing with other kids during the class while learning. The result is quite obvious after 10 lessons - she can now count 1 to 10, sing a few nursery songs and even can have simple dialogues with us, all in Chinese!!!
Actually, I would love to know this. We are currently living in Beijing and our family will move back to Perth in two years time. Our children (4 and 6) are basic Mandarin speakers (both parents are English) and will be going in two months time to a bilingual school also in Beijing. We will end up living North of the River Mid 2014. I was wondering what current or potenial bilingual options may be out there? We will go back and forth to China as our business is based here.