MANDARIN is the most spoken language in the world.
That's one reason the Hunter Community Chinese Language School encourages all children to learn it.
The school holds classes for children and adults at locations across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Abigale Slater, of Hamilton South, has been learning Mandarin for five years.
The 14-year-old started lessons at her mum's request, but liked it so much she even travelled to China on a school trip last April.
Fellow student Julianna Sebastian, 11, of Eleebana, has been learning Mandarin since age 6.
Julianna enjoys teaching the language to her little sister Katherine.
"My mum always says I'm patient, so I'm a good teacher," Julianna said.
Eleven-year-old Olivia Sullivan, of Charlestown, said learning Mandarin was rewarding because she had Chinese heritage.
"Mum says if I ever go back to China, I will be able to speak it," Olivia said.
The girls are all taught by the likes of Ning Wang, a native Mandarin speaker who holds Australian teaching qualifications.
Mr Wang said children should start learning a language as soon as possible.
"More and more people are doing international business with China, so it is really good to learn," he said.
Hunter Community Chinese Language School holds Mandarin classes for pre-school and primary school students on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Phone Ning Wang on 0421 921 716. Adult classes are held on Tuesdays. Phone Sue Zhao on 0427 572 045. Classes cost $10 a lesson.