Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup meets every Monday from 10am to 12pm with a wide range of fun activities laid out for the day. The aim of this playgroup is to provide a friendly, Mandarin speaking environment for all parents, carers and children in the area. Families attending this group will need to speak and/or understand Mandarin. The session finishes with everyone singing a Mandarin song together and exchanging a good wish to each other for a great week ahead.
How it all started
Earlier this year, Xin Yin Ooi, the current coordinator for Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup had her second boy and was looking for a Mandarin playgroup in the Hills District. She was told the nearest one for her was over 30 kilometers away. Xin Yin contacted Playgroup NSW for advice on how to form a playgroup. Xin Yin then started to post in both Chinese and English on local Facebook pages to gather expression of interest. As with all social media posts, the responses were mixed and there were some hurtful comments that naturally made her quite upset. However, Xin Yin was not deterred as there were also lots of people supporting her that could see the value of a culture specific playgroup. Xin Yin received lots of expression of interest from families in the area and as a result, the Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup was founded in March 2018.
A place for everyone who shares the same vision
Since establishing the playgroup, Xin Yin found that many grandparents living around Beaumont Hills don’t speak English. Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup provides the opportunity for them to get out of their homes with their grandkids, socialise and make valuable friendships with other families from similar cultural backgrounds.
Having run the playgroup for three terms now, Xin Yin proudly disclosed that “Most families in her playgroup shares lots of similarities in terms of the values we cherish, the future we hope for our children, and the desire for our children to grow up with an appreciation of the culture they came from and at the same time, fully able to integrate and participate into Australian society.”
Xin Yin’s vision is to make the playgroup full of “positive energy” (正能量 in Mandarin) and deliver what a playgroup is supposed to do, which in this case, is to support families from Mandarin speaking background.
Xin Yin makes it clear that everyone in Beaumont Hills Little Buddies contributes and helps with running the playgroup. Each family is rostered to run playgroup activities every week so that everyone plays a part in the overall picture. And this is reiterated at the start of each term so that all members are reminded about their roles and responsibilities at their playgroup.
The sky is the limit
The roster structure has worked extremely well at Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup. There is no limit to the activities and ideas that families bring every week. Some favourite activities include Chinese calligraphy and painting, Montessori activities (sponge the water, make your own breakfast), parachutes games, Chinese character colouring, cooking with playdough and many more.
The activities at Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup are a collective of hard work from the members at the playgroup, so there is no limitation on these. The only limitations are, perhaps, “our imagination and willingness to cope with mess!”, Xin Yin shared with us.
For more play activities at Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup, check out their blog
If you have a baby and would like to join a Mandarin speaking playgroup in the Hills District, please contact Beaumont Hills Little Buddies Mandarin Playgroup here
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