I love learning about new activities for children that are starting up in Gaborone. I believe that the more we play and invest in healthy activities for kids the more they will be able to discover the world and their own potential. So I was excited to be invited to an impromptu chat at InPlay with its owner Chah and Mogolo Kefalotse Ramalebang, who’s starting Mandarin Chinese classes for kids in Gaborone.
Mogolo started learning Mandarin and visiting China over 10 years ago while staying in Malaysia. She spent 2 years as a language exchange student in Shanghai and also studied her MBA in Beijing. She giggles as she proudly shares with me that she ranked overall Top 10 and position 1 for Africa in the Global Chinese Bridge Competition (a Chinese language and culture competition), where she competed against 133 students from 97 different countries.
“For many years now, Mandarin Chinese has predominantly been taught to adults in Botswana. I know how frustrating that can be for parents looking to have their kids learn, so I wanted to offer children an early start.” says Mogolo.
It’s a known fact that children are able to pick up languages faster than adults, but the ways that children are taught need to be fun and engaging.
That’s why Mogola and her team, Mandarin Dialogue, have partnered with InPlay to offer children a chance to learn the language through fun games in an exciting playground environment. The language will be introduced to kids through games that are educational and carefully crafted. Lessons will start upstairs at InPlay, then move down to the playground space for the games portion.
Families are invited to trial the language program for free at InPlay this week. Parents will get a feel of their teaching methods and see if it’s right for their family, and make sure that the child is keen to learn.
But why Mandarin?
There’s no doubt that Chinese is the most spoken language in the world. If you want to learn a language that one in six people in the world speak, this is the one for you.
Learning Mandarin could potentially set children up with a globally competitive edge. Many organisations around the world are increasingly searching for employees who are fluent in Mandarin Chinese. Learning a language also comes with learning the culture from that country, which would ease culture shock and heighten awareness and sensitivity within the children as they grow. This is a great skill; imagine how many business deals have been lost because of issues arising from cultural differences.
Mogolo’s excited to teach again. She spent two years working at a bilingual school in Shanghai and 6 months in Wuhu city working at a center that teaches students English-Chinese translation and interpretation. While there, she gained invaluable experience teaching English as a second language to Chinese children and would apply the same principles towards teaching Mandarin to our little ones here in Botswana.
Following the free trial at InPlay…
Mandarin Dialogue will open admissions on the 10th May for classes that will start in June. They’re located in Phase 2, which is where their regular Chinese classes would be held. For more information follow the Mandarin Dialogue Facebook Page, or contact Mogolo on 74038148.
I’m not sure my toddlers are ready for Mandarin, but I am really keen to learn how to teach them a new language. What languages are spoken in your home now? Are you looking to have them learn another? Share in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you.