SCHOOLCHILDREN were given a thrilling taste of an exciting alternative culture as a school celebrated Chinese New Year yesterday.
Pupils at St John’s College in Southsea got stuck into a day of celebrations full of activities about Chinese culture ahead of national festivities on Saturday.
It is nice to celebrate Chinese New Year here. When I am home the whole family get together and we stay up late, sing, dance and eat lots of food, especially dumplings. It’s a bit like Christmas.Meixi Chen, 9, from Bejing
Children from Years 3 and 4 at the school learned how to write in Cantonese, explored the Chinese Zodiac, made paper chains of Chinese dragons and traditional red envelopes called Lai see.
The school is home to a number of Chinese students and has welcomed overseas pupils for the last 30 years with the facility’s year 3 and year 4 Chinese students taking part in the workshops.
The Cantonese workshop was put together by Miss Tong Liu, an English teacher accompanying eight Chinese students, who are spending a year at St John’s to experience the British education system.
Miss Tong Liu said: ‘The children have a real talent for Chinese writing - I think it was more difficult for me as a teacher, as there are many terms which can easily be explained in Chinese but not so well in English. It’s great to be able to teach some of our history and culture to St John’s pupils, as they have already taught us so much about theirs.’
Meixi Chen, 9, from Beijing said: ‘It is nice to celebrate Chinese New Year here. When I am home the whole family get together and we stay up late, sing, dance and eat lots of food, especially dumplings. It’s a bit like Christmas.’
Caroline Robertson, teacher of Year 3 and PHSE at the school ran the variety of activities.
These included making Lai see - which are red envelopes containing money and are given to loves ones to wish them a peaceful year.
Tony Shrubsall, head teacher of the junior school said: ‘We have long had Chinese students in our boarding school - typically joining us at GCSE or A Level.
‘It has been wonderful this year having younger Chinese students with us as it shows our junior pupils how this important festival is enjoyed in their home country. I am pleased we have been able to celebrate this very special time.’
The celebrations will continue today as the Year 4 pupils will hold a themed assembly to parents and friends.