Confucius Classroom brings China to the children
Confucius wasn't just a famous Chinese philosopher, he was also a dedicated teacher. Thousands of years later his legacy lives on across the globe and in central Victoria.
The famous Chinese philosopher Confucius has been quoted for thousands of years as an author and a guiding light in the concepts of morality, justice and sincerity.
He is also sometimes referred to as the 'Model Teacher for Ten Thousand Ages', which he has so far easily lived up to.
And he's even still casting his wisdom over central Victoria, with the Confucius Classroom.
Established first in 2004, the project was launched officially in Bendigo in 2011 as part of a global program supported by Hanban, a Chinese government organisation committed to teaching Chinese around the world.
In a short space of time the Confucius Classroom has grown to offer a number of schools the chance to learn Mandarin.
"Next year we'll have nineteen primary schools and three secondary schools, plus Bendigo Senior Secondary College that are providing a pathway for students," says Assistant Principal Linda Lyons.
One of the major benefits of the teaching is that it doesn't revolve entirely around the classroom, with a major focus on leveraging an interactive website to deliver information.
"They are born with all the new technology and availability, so it's becoming an important of how they learn. It's one of the most important elements to engage them," says Coordinator Juncai Lin.
Jincai moved to Bendigo from China six years ago, after his sister fell in love with the region and convinced him to visit.
These days there is a flow of students in both directions - Australian students heading to China and Chinese students coming to Bendigo.
Juncai thinks coming to a smaller town like Bendigo compared to major cities helps Chinese students to be immersed in a foreign culture.
"They love the environment here, because most of our students come from big cities in China, and this is a totally different experience. Being in Melbourne or Sydney would be a little similar because there are a lot of Asian people and it's very busy."
Luckily for anyone who is a little older than school students, the Confucius Classroom runs sessions for adults, ranging from complete beginner all the way to conversational lessons.