Learning Mandarin through role play

Mini Mandarins Learning Centre in Hong Kong is the first centre of its kind to teach the language to children through immersive and thematic role play. We caught up with creator ANITA SHUM who tells us more .

What inspired you to start Mini Mandarins?

I was born here but raised in Sydney during Hong Kong’s peak migration era. Many of my friends in similar situations lost their Chinese skills because their parents didn’t offer them Chinese learning. I’m very grateful that my mother found a relaxed and happy Mandarin school that I attended once a week for 12 years. My language skills have proven to be a great professional advantage.

I believe that Mandarin will become a prerequisite, rather than an advantage. This is why I started Mini Mandarins, to bring the same positive learning experience to a new generation of children.

Mini Mandarins hong Kong

Tell us about Mini Metro, the role-play component of Mini Mandarins?

Mini Metro is a simulated real-world setting, like a supermarket or clinic, that reinforces the application of Mandarin in our daily lives. It allows our students to learn the language through role play and through practicing their Chinese by carrying out “mini missions” in a fun learning environment.

Do you think it’s possible for non-native speakers to truly master Mandarin?

Definitely! The key is to start as early as possible, as if you are learning your own mother tongue. Even if you’re late to the game, you must be consistent and build your oral skills before rushing into literacy and writing.

Where do you see Mini Mandarins in five years?

Hopefully, we’ll expand beyond Hong Kong, stimulating more youngsters to develop a love of Mandarin by using the language in their daily lives.

Contact Mini Mandarins at 2320 1128 or info@minimandarins.com.


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This article first appeared in the City Guide 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.