One of the presentations at last year’s seminar on raising bilingual children at Melbourne University discussed Languages Activism and the different ways in which parents can contribute to enhancing language learning in the wider community. Kimmba Bilingual Learning Playgroups are an outstanding example of such an initiative, and here is the story of the person behind its success.
Marisha Theeboom is an experienced, trained Mandarin teacher and volunteer community worker since 1987. She has worked with a variety of ages, cultures and in different continents whilst involved with a large charitable organisation that spans Taiwan, America and South Africa. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours Degree from University of Cape Town, R.S.A.,1996.
She married an Australian Pilot in 2000, migrated to Melbourne and has three daughters. As a migrant herself, she is aware of the difficulties involved in settling within the local community. Thus she has turned her love of teaching and community work into establishing Kimmba Bilingual Learning Playgroup Inc. Kimmba has been established for migrants and local residents to be able to gather together and understand each other through a fun and loving playgroup environment. In doing so, she hopes the establishment of Kimmba Bilingual Learning Playgroup enables more migrants from differing cultures to benefit by retaining their self-identity and at the same time develop proficiency in English language skills.
Marisha has developed her own bilingual education program for young children, called Jo Jo Bilingual Education Program and started the first Mandarin bilingual learning playgroup at Taiwanese School of Melbourne in July 2006. She has further studied and obtained a Certificate in the Professional Development Program in Second Language Teaching Methodology for Teachers in Ethnic Schools (Chinese Phase I) from RMIT University November, 2006.
This year Marisha is expanding Kimmba so that more children and families can be exposed to wide range of languages and cultures. She is opening a new Center in Prahran that will be available for students ranging from 0-6 years old to come from 1 hour- 15 hours a week to learn either Mandarin, German or Spanish. The Prahran center is set up as an early learning center with two fully qualified and trained teachers in every room. This center is hopefully the first of many to come as Marisha is passionate about exposing children and families to different languages and cultures to help build positive relationships with everyone in the community.
To find out more , please visit http://www.kimmba.com.au/