"I was looking around for a suitable structured bilingual playgroup for a long time before I heard about Kimmba, a wonderful, structured and educational bilingual playgroup. With Mrs. Marisha Theeboom´s support, we were finally able to set up our own German playgroup. So we have been offered a fantastic opportunity to form a German Learning Playgroup with teacher for our little ones.
This is a great possibility for our children to exchange with others in the German language, to communicate with other children and study German playfully. That way we can bring closer to them the German culture / customs as well as a little bit of the German country. The children can experience that not only their parents or other adults can speaking German, but also other kids their own age. This makes a big difference. It awakes their interest and broadens their minds – it is a chance for life!
The German playgroup had started begin of this year. Over the last few months children and parents got not only to know each other but to also enjoy and appreciate each other's company and perspectives. Children and adults have grown together to a very supportive network exchanging experiences, point of views, knowledge and so much more. We feel like a big family.
We would not want to miss this playgroup anymore. My children feel safe and have made big developmental steps with the help of the playgroup and our teacher. Even for the parents it is a beneficial exchange.
Unfortunately our financial sources are very limited. The LOTE playgroups at Kimmba are so popular (people come from as far as Kilmore and Aspendale Gardens to attend the groups) that we have been outgrown of the space we have. So much more could be done if we had the money. The fundraisings we did during the year could not quite cover the running costs, but we do not want to increase the term fees again (it got already more expensive this year), to still make it affordable for all families.
Therefore I do hope we receive a funding grant to insure the playgroups are still able to run the next years.
Thank you for taking the time to read and learn about our bilingual playgroups."
Doris Glier with children (3 and 1 years old)
Mother and organiser of the German playgroups at Kimmba.
"The Kimmba Bilingual Playgroup has been an important part of my family's life for the past few years. I used to take my son and daughter there to learn Mandarin and important social skills. As an Anglosaxon Australian married to an Indian-Chinese Sigaporean I felt accepted in this welcoming environment. As work and university commitments have increased my wife now takes my daughter who is still at kinder. I appreciated the involvement in fundraising barbeques and working bees. The sharing of information and interaction made my family and I feel more a part of our broader community."
Thursday 11:15am Mandarin session
"I would like to first of all express my thanks to Marisha and Kimmba for developing a program that makes the learning of Mandarin fun for my kids. Coming from Singapore myself and having learnt Mandarin for 10 years I have first hand experience of how gruelling and tough learning a second language can be, especially one that is as complex as Chinese. And all the more the pity as a result of the way I had been taught that I hold no fond memories, hardly remember any of it and hence am now unable to hold a conversation in Mandarin!
Because Kimmba is run as a not-for-profit organisation it would greatly benefit from any community grant that is available. As parents, we all want the best for our children but unfortunately programs such as these run by Kimmba, however enriching and beneficial for our children, come at a monetary cost as they are not considered part of the already funded government kindergarten program. Although Kimmba actively runs some fundraising activities, unfortunately it is back to the same parents who are supporting Kimmba to dig in."
Angelena Teh (Mother of Elena Ee Ling and Emma Ee Mei)
Wednesday Mandarin class
"We are from a non-Chinese background and we take our daughter to Kimmba playgroup. We have found it extremely accepting of diverse cultures and children from mixed racial unions are strongly represented in this group.
Our daughter is learning to value other cultures and the importance of learning a foreign language which no other setting provides to the same degree. We feel that learning a foreign language like Mandarin will provide opportunities for her in the future. She is very comfortable in this setting and really enjoys the experience partly because the content and delivery of the program caters very well to her ability and needs. She is learning the language effectively.
The staff are very friendly and accommodating. We are extremely lucky to have such a group in our local area."
Kathy and Myles
Saturday 3:30-5pm Mandarin group
"While I was researching the language learning opportunities for young children to learn a LOTE in Melbourne, I came across the Kimmba Bilingual Playgroup Community, which I quickly joined with my daughter. I was excited by the opportunity for my daughter to start learning Mandarin with a range of children who are learning Mandarin and English at home, as well as children, such as my daughter, who are English only speakers. Having grown up in Manningham (Lower Templestowe), I am proud that a group such as Kimmba exists in our community and for a range of languages (Cantonese, German, Mandarin and Spanish)."
Yvette Slaughter, Zara’s mum
Thursday 9.30-11.00 Mandarin
"My daughter Annelie and I joined the Kimmba Learning Playgroup over a year ago. We are involved in the Spanish playgroup.
I cannot stress strongly enough how fantastic the experience has been for both of us. The playgroup is formed with families from a wide range of backgrounds, and has helped my daughter to integrate across language and cultures. We have gain a better understanding of the great community support available in the Manningham Minicipality and beyond. I have been able to extend my network of contacts who provide a wealth of information regarding educational and developmental issues, schooling and general information about bringing up a child. Dealing with the challenges of work/life balance that affect so many families in todays' society.
The Kimmba Learning Playgroup is a non-for-profit organisation run very professionally, where most of the staff work for very little or no remuneration. They do it because they believe in and support the values of the organisation. Kimmba is constantly looking for ways of raising funds so that it can sustain its activities. Various events to raise funds have been organised. Sausage day with Bunnings, selling of Christmas presents through catalogues where the organisers receive funds according to items sold, etc.
The Kimmba Learning Playgroup understands the needs of the community very clearly. The bilingual playgroups address the cultural integration needs of the community. Kimmba is very pro-active in addressing community needs to met by other organisations. For example, a recently new developed program addresses the integration needs of second (third and onwards) time mothers of different cultural backgrounds."
Spanish, Saturday session
"A WONDERFUL LANGUAGE SCHOOL! A FRIENDLY AND UNIQUE PLACE FOR OUR FAMILY TO SHARE OUR SPECIAL TIME EVERY WEEK WITH OTHER FAMILIES WHO HAVE SIMILAR INTERESTS.
THANK YOU FOR PROVIDING A LOCAL CHINESE SCHOOL FOR MY AUSTRALIAN HUSBAND AND SON TO LEARN MANDARIN.
KEEP UP YOUR GOOD WORK!"
Saturday 3:30pm Mandarin Session
I only joined the German playgroup in term 3 this year, but my 2 year old son Marvin and I loved it from the first moment. He made friends in his age group and I like to exchange with the mums. We are a German speaking family that migrated to Australia in 2003. Our son was born here and we decided to speak exclusively German to him. Socially he felt a bit isolated because at the moment he does not speak or understand much English. That made the German playgroup perfect for us!!
German session 1, Tuesday
"Kimmba is a type of school involving pre-school children and school age children. My children are 5 and 6 years old and both learn Chinese at the school. Here, they meet other children who also learn Chinese. They treat this as a social outing, increasing their knowlege of the Chinese language, and also meeting other children from the local community.
There are a wide range of children from different backgrounds who are in their class. Some are born overseas, and others are Australian. Together, they learn about each other's background. This is nearly a second home for them.
The parents involved get together every few months. There are also fund raising initiatives. We all got together last term to do a Bunning's sausage sizzle. This was great in that we were able to purchase more books and CD learning materials for the Chinese classes. But this also allowed our community to come together for a common cause."
Monday & Saturday afternoon Mandarin sessions
"Here are some reasons why I like Kimmba Bilingual Playgroup:
- it's close to my home, it's really convenient for me.
- it has right aged group for my son, he can play and learn with them
- it has bilingual language learning. it's common concern for chinese family that their children can't speak chinese. so it's important to build a good foundation at their early age
- parents can exchange experience and ideas about raising children."
Thursday 9.30-11.00 Mandarin
One reason I have become involved with the Kimmba Bilingual Playgroup is because my grandson, Noah, 1 year then, was losing his baby playgroup as all the mothers were going back to work.
The second reason was that Noah is half Australian and half Chinese/Malay and I saw this as an ideal activity for him to participate in. Not only would it give him the social interaction he needed as an only child, with children his own age but it would expose him to the Mandarin language at a very early age.
Why did I feel this was an excellent opportunity?
My history, as a Primary school teacher, saw that young children pick up other languages (Italian in the 80’s and Mandarin in the 90’s) much more easily than older children, that being Prep/Grade 1&2 compared to Grade 5 & 6. Those that already had a second language spoken at home grasped it even quicker. The child that excelled the most had Lithuanian as her Mother tongue, learnt both English and Greek through playgroup/neighbour contact and was the first to speak Italian fluently.
As a grandmother I have two granddaughters in Norway. The eldest, now 6 years, is totally bi-lingual, switching from Norwegian to English without any trouble. She was exposed to English at home and Norwegian away from home, from birth. The other child, 3½ years, spent 11 months here from 18 months old and although she understands both languages fully she is not confident in answering in English at present as the swapping back to Norwegian took time. However that should develop soon as she is already making the comment, “That is xxxx in English isn’t it?” about things she sees and hears.
I find the Kimmba Bilingual Playgroup sessions welcoming and the participants from a diverse background. The activities are child friendly and appealing to the younger child. Although I am not the mother I see that the mothers are supportive of each other. Noah’s mum will happily get involved once she has had the new child that she is expecting in September.
Marianne Conn – Noah’s grandmother
Thursday 9.30-11.00 Mandarin