I am trying to teach my kids to be bilingual so I am constantly on the lookout for Chinese, particularly Cantonese, playgroups and other resources.
The kids don’t get much exposure to Cantonese in their everyday lives. Only I speak to them in Chinese as I’m not able to read Chinese books to them and my parents live interstate so they don’t have frequent contact. I don’t have any Chinese kids TV shows (but I’m looking into that if anyone has suggestions).
I’ve recently discovered a playgroup for Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents and their children in Kensington. It’s held at Kensington Neighbourhood House which is a community space for local groups to meet, share information, develop skills and break down isolation or other community barriers.
The playgroup is on every Friday 10am-12pm during school term and entry is by gold coin donation. It’s held in the same space as the occasional care within Kensington Neighbourhood House so it’s well-stocked with toys, (English) books, art and craft activities, a dress up corner and even an outdoor area with play equipment. You can bring your own snacks and water bottles.
Baby 2.0 and Lady AB really enjoyed their first experience of playgroup (it’s the first time I’ve been to anything like that). They were able to roam around freely without being restricted by what they could or could not touch. I chatted to a few of the other parents who were a mix of Mandarin and Cantonese speakers. As it was a cold morning there were only about 5 kids at the playgroup – I think they tend to get about 10-12 most of the time so it’s not an enormous group. Overall it was a great wet/cold weather activity
The playgroup is suitable for babies up to pre-schoolers and parenting support information is provided by Doutta Galla Community Health Service monthly. I’m hoping to make it a regular outing for us so that the kids get more exposure to other people speaking Chinese.
Do you attend a bilingual playgroup or storytime? I’m compiling a list of resources for bilingual Melbourne parents and would love your input.
Chinese Playgroup, Kensington Neighbourhood House, 89 McCracken Street, Kensington 03 9376 6366
Office Hours Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
Chinese playgroup Fridays 10am – 12pm
Cost Gold coin donation