“I was really impressed by the programs you have in place. You have done a tremendous amount of work on the curriculum and the teacher training – which is all so vital for a successful language program. It is still early days, but Mandarin Stars seems to have a great future because of the solid educational and business foundation you have given the whole enterprise. Well done.

I was impressed by the enthusiasm and skills of the teachers. It is not easy to capture the attention and interest of young children, and from the little I saw of their classes, the teachers were doing an excellent job. Please thank them again for letting me come and observe. Thanks also to the parents who spoke to me. Parental support is a very important factor in children’s learning – it helps keep the children motivated and interested.

Congratulations on offering a Mandarin class for parents. It is great way to increase their confidence and skills to travel along with their children on their great language journey. Hope I can visit again some time.”

- Dr. Mandy Scott, PhD Linguistics, Australian National University

“Please can you pass on our sincere thanks to Dawna and especially to Betty for the excellence of the teaching programme that you run. We have been very impressed. The girls love it, and cried when they had to miss a week due to illness. They genuinely enjoy all of the activities, and as a parent, it is obvious that the repetition of key phrases in different contexts is assisting them to learn.

It is also very helpful and kind that Betty directs various comments and explanations to me as the parent to help my understanding. As you know, between us we had only one word of Mandarin when we started, so we can very clearly state that all of our Mandarin progress is entirely down to your programme and Betty’s excellent teaching.”

Karen (Mum to Jessica and Charlotte)

“Can you please pass on our thanks to Claire – she is outstanding! Claire has a lovely manner with the children and always has a smile on her face. Amelia is always very happy to see her. I am a teacher and I appreciate the great job she is doing.”

Mum to Amelia

“First of all I want to let you know that Juliana has enjoyed her time immensely at Mandarin Stars. She has learned a lot and uses the pinyin words daily eg. words for apple, grapes, airplane, house and her most favourite colour “pink” etc. She is also watching her DVDs in Mandarin- “Hello Kitty”, “Dora” etc. She usually finds words that are used in the class being used in the DVDs.

To be honest with you, my husband and I were a little skeptical at the beginning in starting Juliana with Mandarin at such an early age (she had just turned 2 years) thinking that she might not be able to sit long enough and have the attention span to learn or let alone pick up anything, but to our surprise she learned something from the very first day she attended.

Even if we had to drive quite a fair distance I felt that it was all worth it seeing my child grasp what I as an adult find difficult which is learning and interacting in a different language. The teachers have been all wonderful and Juliana looks forward each Monday to go to her class. We have met many wonderful friends in the classes who will never forget and have taken countless pictures to keep in our memories.

The highlight for my daughter last year was being able to celebrate her surprise 3rd Birthday along with her teachers and friends at Mandarin Stars. She was even lost for words when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” in Mandarin. The teacher/s Juliana has are excellent and I commend you in taking such high quality teachers who children love and adore. It saddens me that in 2 lessons Juliana will have to finally say good-bye to Mandarin Stars as we prepare for the next chapter in our lives which is a new baby. Juliana often boasts that she will be a Jie Jie (big sister) soon.

You don’t know how wonderful it is to hear your 3 year old use Mandarin daily. We are also hoping that our new baby will experience going to Mandarin Stars in the future. Again Dawna, Thanks to Mandarin Stars- my child has grown to love Mandarin and learn more about her Chinese heritage. May your school prosper more and teach many other children the joy of learning Mandarin.”

Cielo (Mum to Juliana)

“The children really enjoyed the class as the content was delivered in a smooth flowing and engaging manner. Coming from a teaching background, I would highly recommend Mandarin Star to any potential student who is after a positive learning experience.”

Jenny Yang- former teacher at Sydney Boy’s High School

“I just wanted to drop you an email to say how much we love Mandarin Stars!

My oldest little boy is now in Kindy and is having a wonderful time in your Mandarin Stars – Weekend Club. He came out of his first lesson for the year full of excitement! Since this is his first year in school, I ask him to choose one activity to do during this term. He chose Mandarin Stars over all the other things he has previously done. This just shows that Mandarin Stars is still capturing his interest and enthusiasm, even after attending for 1.5 years!

He is still singing all the songs at home that he has learnt over the last 6 terms in the Mandarin Stars playgroup and is even teaching his little brother at home various phrases and songs.

I believe you are doing a fantastic job and have such a unique program. All your teachers’ dedication shows through their interactions with the children and reflects their love of children and their love of the Mandarin language. It is so wonderful to see the children warmly interact with the teachers and be excited about their playgroup activities, even when it is all done in their non-native language, ie not in English!

There may be other Mandarin providers out there, but after previously trying others and seeing and experiencing what you do, you truly have a unique, special program that is dedicated to capturing the attention, enthusiasm and excitement of our children whilst providing them with the wonderful foundation for learning Mandarin as they grow.

Thank you for establishing Mandarin Stars for all of our children in Sydney!”

Melissa (Mum to Matthew and Jayden)

“Thanks for the link to the activity centre. I am really impressed – it’s very well organised and the content will help me support Bridget’s learning at home.”

Mum to Bridget

“I was so impressed by your class as the kids are really happy and they are totally immerging in the Chinese language atmosphere, playing, learning and achieving a lot. The achievement of your one class has exceeded ours in whole term class.”

Meijing ZHU, Assistant Chinese Teacher, Stawell Secondary College in Victoria

“The games and activities are interesting and engaging. The children are learning while they are having fun. And I also think the way of immersion teaching you use is effective for inspiring children’s sense of Chinese language.”

Yanxiang WANG, Assistant Chinese Teacher, Melbourne Southwood Boys Grammar School

Dear Dawna,

It was lovely meeting you today and experiencing your integrated play-based language program at Mandarin Stars. I was impressed by the commitment of the staff and the engagement and obvious enjoyment on the part of the children. I spoke to a number of the Anglo Australian Mums and really got the impression that they were keen to have their children speak Mandarin and I hope that your program moves from strength to strength.

It would be good to have some connection with your group and I will confer with colleagues to determine ways this might occur. Until then I want to thank you once again for your hospitality today and for letting me sit in on your play sessions.

Dr. Jean Ashton, Early Education, The University of Sydney

“I am completely and utterly impressed with your program, Dawna. If the curriculum was entirely in English, I’d be impressed. But given that the class is entirely in Mandarin; I am blown away. I believe that immersion is the ONLY way to successfully learn a language (having studied 7 myself with fluency in 5).

The syllabus of each lesson, brought to life by your EXCELLENT staff of teachers, and the fluidity of the subject matter presented each week into the next brings a proficiency that is unparalleled for their age group in any subject.

To call it a “playgroup”, while accurately attesting to its fun and enjoyability, is a massive understatement, to say the least. In all facets of early childhood education, from Suzuki to Montessori, you, Dawna, have really hit the nail on the head. Each week is a sensory experience unlike any other in the life of my son.

Mandarin Stars is instilling not just a love of Mandarin or of learning or playing or music, but a love of participation and accomplishment that can only result in an addiction of culture and education. And for that, I am TRULY grateful. Xie Xie, Mandarin Stars!!”

Ali (Mum to Chille)

Ni Hao!

As some of you are aware, Deidre O’Reilly, Parent Coach and Education Consultant came to observe us and provide feedback on helping us to deliver a first class program for children. We have learnt a lot from Deidre’s report and, as most of you are aware, we have already started implementing some of her proposed recommendations. I’d like to quote Deidre’s note after our consultation with her.. a testament to how hard our wonderful teaching team dedicate to teaching Mandarin to our young pre-schoolers..:)



Dear Dawna,

Thank you for allowing me to observe during your sessions. I really enjoyed observing the children and parents learning together!

I was very impressed with the dedication of your teachers, they worked so hard to keep the children engaged and actively learning.

I found the interaction in small groups fascinating when the children got the opportunity to practice an ever-growing vocabulary.


Deidre O’Reilly, M.Ed. B.Ed Montessori Dip A.M.I (14.5.09)

“A warm thank you to you and your staff at Chatswood for the wonderful experience you provided for her. It’s really nice to hear her (Emily- 2 years old) rattling in Mandarin as she plays, even after just a few weeks at your class!”

Carol (Mum to Emily)

“I would like to congratulate you on a really fantastic program! Luke has been coming to the Chatswood class for 2 terms now and is really coming along quite nicely. I was amazed at how much he manages to absorb and how your teachers and activities manage to hold his attention for that amount of time! But best of all he LOVES coming to his class! Well done on a great program and enthusiastic and energetic teaching!”

Louise (Mum to Luke)

“I have been very impressed with the staff and the amount of work that goes into preparing for each of the classes. It’s quite obvious to me that a lot of thoughts have been put into preparing all the activities for the children. There were always interesting and new materials for the activities as well as the repetition of regular songs and activities to make the children comfortable. Best of all, my daughter loves coming to class and have taken a real liking to all her teachers. She talks about them at home and she looks forward to coming to class.”

Violet (Mum to Jade and Kiera)

“I’ve been to three different Mandarin classes and this is by far the best. My 2 1/2 year old son actually looks forward to his class, and has fun learning Mandarin. I’m looking forward to sending my 9 month old son to Mandarin Stars in a few months.”

Theresa (Mum to Christian and Joseph)

“My husband and I are very happy to have found Mandarin Stars. Our kids enjoy the activities, the teachers and their special hand-made panda toys. Our two-year old son has been speaking Mandarin words since the very first class.

He loves the songs and appears to enjoy the language as much as his native languages, English and Spanish. For non-Mandarin speaking parents, the flash cards and at-home materials are useful tools to reinforce the learning’s properly. Overall, we highly recommend Mandarin Stars.”

Magdalena (Mum to Cassandra and Ian)

“Every week Arthur and I look forward to Mandarin Stars because we like the warm welcoming environment and friendly staff. There’s no pressure which encourages Arthur’s willingness to join in.”

Rochelle (Mum to Arthur)

“Attending Mandarin classes it not just for fun but also seeing Madeleine (who is very shy in the classroom) sing along to all the songs when she is at home or in the car. She was reading a book the other day and pointed out a dog and said ‘Gow’ in Mandarin, and I thought that was impressive given the fact we only attended a few classes. She has also started to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and count to ten in Mandarin. Thank you Dawna and Staff.”

Lisa (Mum to Madeleine)

“Huzi just loves the variety of activities, singing, dancing, storytelling, art and craft and eating! All the while learning Mandarin and having it reinforced by constant repetition and having fun!”

Mandy (Mum to Huzi)

“Thank you for providing such a fun environment for learning. I love Mandarin Stars and really enjoy bringing Emily along. I even think I like it more than her. I think you may need to run a parents class but slower for us oldies!!! We will definitely be back next term.”

Leanne (Mum to Emily)

“We have been to mandarin stars for a month now. Having been to other more conventional Chinese class, we feel that the main attraction of Mandarin stars is that it has made learning fun. It’s very much catered for kids in this age group.”

- Connie (Mum to Hayley)

“Marcus & Megan are going well… enjoying the Mandarin classes and always looking forward to turning up on Saturdays! Marcus is repeating a lot of words, and even Megan at 18 months is saying a lot for her age… this weekend, her favourite phrase is Xie Xie ;)”

– Julia (Mum to Marcus & Megan)

“I’m just wishing to say how much the children enjoyed Angela. She is a very gifted teacher, earning their respect quickly. Well done.”

Melinda (Mum to Luci, George & Charles)

“We went to a birthday party on Saturday and one of the mothers came up and told me she was most shocked when she entered daycare and Daniella came up and talked to her in mandarin – she didn’t know Daniella was learning – and congratulated me on her lack of accent. I assured her it was nothing to do with me and everything to do with Mandarin stars!”

- Kathryn (Mum to Daniella)

“Recently at my mother’s 60th b’day, Niharika sang “Happy B’day to you” in Mandarin in front of a group of about 100 people and also sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (in Mandarin again). Everybody really appreciated this a lot.”

- Swapna (Mum to Niharika)

“My son Ethan, who is 5 years old, joined Mandarin Stars in Term 3, 2013. Our family is a multicultural family, my husband is kiwi and I am Chinese myself, Ethan was born here in NZ. Over the years I have been a wee bit “slack” on reinforcing both of the languages at home. My husband is hopeless at speaking Chinese so English was just easier for everyone to communicate in and I didn’t want to be the person having to translate 24/7 – poor excuse I know! English became Ethan’s first language. I started becoming worried because my parents were moving over here from China to join us. There was no way Ethan could communicate with his grandparents without me. I started searching for programs in Christchurch that would suit Ethan’s learning style. He is a very energetic 5 year old boy and he learns best via playing games and doing creative activities. I love Mandarin Star’s teaching methods and their learning environment. Over the last few months, Ethan has been attending the Mandarin Stars program; I have noticed a huge improvement in his speaking, reading and writing skills. Thanks so much to the Mandarin Stars program and teachers, my wee man is now his grandparents little translator when they go out shopping together! Mandarin Stars is the best Mandarin language class I have seen and to me it is really important for Ethan to have the opportunity to discover the other half of his heritage and culture as a bilingual child. Thank you Mandarin Stars!”

- Psiren Kirk

“My daughter Vera, 8 years old, joined Mandarin Stars Christchurch just a few months ago, right after we relocated ourselves to New Zealand from Europe. As a bilingual child already (her native language is Romanian and she also speaks English), I never would have thought that she would love to learn another language so soon after arriving in New Zealand, especially a language that is so different from the ones regularly spoken in Europe. She loves Mandarin so much, not because she actually understands the importance of knowing the most widely spoken language in the world, but thanks to the Mandarin Stars team! All the teachers (Lisi, Linda and Daphne) are amazing with the children! In addition, this interactive teaching method would never fail with bright kids! Speaking English is a common thing already, learning a second or even a third language while still a child is essential, learning one of the “languages of the future” like Mandarin, especially while living in this part of the world, is more than an asset!”

Sabina Antoniu (Mum to Vera)