Ni Hao Children’s Community (“Ni Hao CC”) 你好儿童乐园 nǐ hǎo er tóng lèyuán is an incorporated charitable trust in New Zealand, and is registered with the Charities Commission (registration no. CC50349).
Please note that we have no connections to Nihao Publisher Limited in Wellington.
There are many kinds of Chinese languages, however our programmes are focused on Mandarin Chinese (Huáyǔ 华语/華語, Guóyǔ 國語, Pǔtōnghuà 普通话).
- Stories&Rhymes! community programmes offered in early childhood centres in Wellington.
- Immersion Mandarin Chinese Music & Movement classes. These Preschooler classes are grouped into 2 to 3 years old and 3 to 6 years old sessions. Parents/caregivers accompany children during classes. These classes are for children from any cultural background (Chinese heritage or not), and are aimed at those learning Mandarin as an additional language.
- Immersion Mandarin Chinese Learning By Doing classes for children 6 years to 12 years old, and grouped by school year level (e.g. Year 1 to Year 8). Children are left at classes but adults are most welcome to observe quietly (and asked to participate!). These classes are for children from any cultural background, and are aimed at 1) beginners learning Mandarin as an additional language and 2) children who are fluent listeners but do not know how to or do not wish to speak in Mandarin.
Kiwi kids happily chatting in Mandarin : )
We believe that all children should have access to engaging and positive Mandarin (or other language) learning opportunities, regardless of financial and/or social constraints. We would like to build a sponsorship fund in the future to help make this to happen!
We provide a nurturing, enjoyable and supportive environment for children and parents, from any cultural background, to learn and use the Mandarin Chinese (Huáyǔ 华语/華語, Guóyǔ 國語, Pǔtōnghuà 普通话) language together.
- We provide fun foreign/second language learning opportunities for children,
- develop and support a community of children and parent learners,
- promote and foster confident foreign/second language conversation, and
- promote an understanding, awareness and appreciation of the Chinese culture amongst children and their families.
How It Began
An introduction from Li Ling Ho, Founder & Community Manager:
I migrated from Singapore to New Zealand at the age of 6 1/2 years old. Mandarin was not a big part of life here. If you lived in NZ in the 1980-1990s, especially in a predominantly Pakeha area, society around you did not encourage or value speaking any other language but English outside. This was a big change from Singapore where you could hear at least four languages spoken around you at anytime in public spaces and it was a normal and familiar experience!
So, as a child, there was little relevance and appeal to learn or use any Chinese language, even more so as I came from a mostly English-speaking family. We tried with the Mandarin Chinese school and private tuition, but there was no real focus on developing conversational skills and confidence, not very fun or engaging ways of learning, and limited opportunities to use the language.
With this personal experience in mind and still not being fluent in Mandarin myself, I’m aware of the obstacles my two children face in learning to speak and understand a Chinese language in an English-speaking family and environment. We’ve also had to make a difficult choice between Cantonese (our mother tongue) and Mandarin at this stage.
And…so the little seed of Ni Hao Children’s Community was planted!
I want to make Mandarin learning fun and interactive for the children, as well as making it a familiar ‘everyday’ experience for them. If children (and adults!) enjoy their learning and what they’re doing, that learning goes so much further and sticks so much better! Plus, it always helps to make it “cool” for the kids 😉
I’ve been involved with my children’s Capital Montessori community preschool, and bring inspiration from Montessori to Ni Hao CC’s own philosophy and values. For example, learning to speak and listen to a new language by actually doing it in a positive and meaningful way is so important. Being immersed in the language whenever possible also provides a supportive learning environment.
My hope is that Ni Hao Children’s Community makes a positive difference, providing children and families with fun, engaging and effective Mandarin learning opportunities. Let’s get chatting in Mandarin, and be an inspiration to others to learn and value each others languages and cultures 🙂