Mandarin teacher Alfany Takahashi shows Ipswich Junior Grammar School students Lucas Thompson and Grace Taylor some Chinese items during the lesson.
Mandarin teacher Alfany Takahashi shows Ipswich Junior Grammar School students Lucas Thompson and Grace Taylor some Chinese items during the lesson. Rob Williams

Students now learning Chinese from Prep

KIDS as young as five are now learning Chinese as part of an extensive curriculum shift at one of Ipswich's biggest schools.

As part of a number of changes introduced this year, students in Prep to Year 4 at Ipswich Junior Grammar School will attend 25-minute long Mandarin lessons three times a week.

The school has employed an additional language teacher to help students learn the official language of China, Australia's biggest trading partner.

READ MORE: Why kids should learn a second language

Head of Junior School Nicolee Eiby said the kids learned the language in short classes rather than one long session to make it easier to grasp.

"Previously we only offered Japanese and German," she said.

"However we have a significant number of international students from China and Hong Kong. Parents also wanted their children to have an opportunity to learn Mandarin.

"I think this year holds a lot of promise."

Other changes for the primary school include coeducation to expand from Prep-Year 5 all the way up to Year 6.

"I do think the coeducation agenda has been significant," Ms Eiby said.

"We also have one-on-one laptop access and class sets of iPads for students from Year 1-6.

"We want to prepare the kids for the 21st Century."



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