Monday the 8th February marked the start of the Chinese New Year- The year of the Monkey! So, over the past two weeks there have been many activities that OBA students have taken part in, in order to join in the celebrations.
First of all, special assemblies were held to inform students of New Year Chinese traditions. During these assemblies, three very talented Year 7 pupils, Elie Chadwick, Eleanor Kirwan and Jemma Thain performed a traditional ‘Jasmine flower dance’ that they had learnt this during Chinese Enrichment after school.
In addition, throughout the week all students in Years 7 to 10 studied the Chinese culture and traditions and investigated the meaning of their zodiac sign. They then creatively explored the story of ‘The Monkey King’ by making their own Chinese Opera-style masks, comic strips and developing ideas for a monkey inspired computer game. Finally they researched the Golden Web Monkey, an animal that is sadly set to become extinct unless there are major changes put in place to save this beautiful animal.
On Thursday the 11th February Year 7 took part in a ‘Chinese New Year Project Day’ where workshop leaders from The University of Manchester’s Confucius Institute delivered special sessions on Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Chinese musical culture.
The University of Manchester is home to the second Confucius Institute in the UK and it was formally launched in 2006. It is a partnership between the University, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Beijing Normal University. There are almost 500 Confucius Institutes around the world, and each one serves its community in a different way. The one in Manchester has two main agendas: firstly, to support the teaching of the Chinese language and secondly, to encourage a broader and deeper understanding of Chinese culture and contemporary China.
During the ‘Chinese New Year Project Day’, OBA’s Chinese Language Assistant, Miss Zhao, led sessions on Chinese calligraphy where the students learnt how to write in a traditional style of writing using special Chinese ink on rice paper. Students also learnt the art of Chinese paper cutting, a popular art form in China; demonstrating creativity and skill, they made paper lanterns and created their own Chinese Opera character masks.
Mrs Amanda Noon who co-ordinated the Chinese New Year celebrations also went out to forge links with China on behalf of OBA two years ago. She said:
“At OBA we feel it is important for our students to learn about, and celebrate other countries, cultures and beliefs. This makes our students aware of the wider world and gives us them an understanding of their role as global citizens. We are very fortunate to have a Chinese Language Assistant working in OBA and we have many more exciting opportunities and joint ventures planned for our students.