Why learn a new language?


It’s that time of the term to be booking into the next term’s activities. My children have sports, swimming, and piano classes. So, I did a quick comparison in my mind of those and Mandarin lessons.

Language is like swimming, sports and ballet.

They all teach additional skills, that are not necessarily related to the actual activity, and important life skills or attitudes.  Language learning requires and fosters creativity, flexible and quick thinking, confidence, memory, and with Mandarin, a musical ear due to the different tones. It also develops critical thinking, self and cultural awareness which are all very important in this globalised world!

They are also all similar in the way that you have to keep building on what you learnt last time, and you need opportunities to practise it and have some “game time”.

Language is not just about what you speak, it opens a whole new world.

Director of the Asia Education Foundation (AEF) Australia, Kathe Kirby, made the comment below:

“Lots of people are saying at the moment, I’ve been hearing it for years, ‘everyone in the world is learning English aren’t they? Why do we need to learn other languages? We’re lucky because they speak English’. I think that’s a really limited viewpoint because … if you actually know something about the language of your trading partner, if you actually have some understanding through learning that language and the society and culture, you’ve just got a real advantage over those who don’t have that.

“I think it’s wrong to say that everybody’s learning English so we’ll be able to communicate because there’s a lot more to communication than just the words that come out of your mouth.”

Learning a new language makes you think in totally different ways! A previously English-only speaking friend commented how learning Te Reo Māori made her question and learn more about herself, her assumptions and viewpoints, as much as actually learning a new language! I always think effort should also be made to learn most about what you know about the least.

For me personally, I’d love for there to be Arabic, Bahasa and Hebrew classes in the future, delivered in the same way as our Mandarin programme – big dreams!

Ni Hao Children’s Community classes are good value.

While we don’t have to maintain a physical pool venue, pay sports association costs or have uniforms made, much time and energy is put into planning for your children’s lessons and language growth. Lessons are also constantly evaluated, children’s learning kept track of, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

I’ve received invoices for my children’s swimming classes and it’s $158 per child for the term, with no sibling discounts and no make ups. We have hockey, which is around a similar level but paid only once during the year, with the coaches all being volunteers and parents needing to help on the committee. We used to do ballet, which was even more expensive and it eventually became compulsory to attend twice+ a week.

Do swimming teachers plan for and prep for every class and child individually, or whether ballet or sports are planned for at this age do this too? Planning and prep happens here at Ni Hao Children’s Community, and a lot of time is spent working on the programme compared to the just under one hour in class with your children, but all for your child’s benefit.

One pays $150 for the first child per term of Mandarin Chinese lessons, and that is really good value considering that you can receive private video Skype lessons as make ups, and this fee has to cover venue costs, overheads, staff salaries, professional development, amongst other things.


We’d also love for it to be even more affordable for everyone, but we need enrolments to at least double in numbers so that there is that critical mass and breakeven.

Have you considered learning a language with your children? ; )

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