From little things big things grow

From little things big things grow

With help from our friends at Flemington Rotary Club and HSBC Bank Maribyrnong, our program for Chinese seniors is going from strength to strength.

The saying, “You’re never too old to learn”, has never been better illustrated than in our classrooms on Tuesday afternoons.  With an average age of 76 years, our Chinese Seniors English Class students are proving that learning is a life-long process.

Started as a pilot program in 2017, our English classes for Chinese seniors proved immediately popular. So much so that we recruited an extra teacher so we could run two classes simultaneously each week!

Over 30 participants attended the program during its first year, most (86%) from local public housing estates. These classes have a double purpose – improving conversational English and connecting to community. In addition to a weekly language class, participants take part in various activities and excursions to broaden their knowledge of our local area and to reduce social isolation.

Last year’s favourite activity was a trip to Mount Alexander College to work with Mandarin language students there. Our senior students practiced their English while the high school students practiced their Mandarin language skills. This was a beautiful example of intergenerational learning.

As their confidence has increased, our Chinese senior students have begun to volunteer at various events – demonstrating traditional Chinese dancing and giving expert table tennis tips during our Cultural Diversity Week celebrations.

When asked if this program should continue, participants answered with a resounding “YES.”

Our thanks to Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, Maribyrnong and the Rotary Club of Flemington for sponsoring this program for 2018 – 2019. We have many new adventures ahead!

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