On Friday, we held the official opening of our Confucius Classroom. This special celebration recognised the school’s work over the last five years and enabled us to look confidently towards the future. We are keen to develop the children’s understanding as global citizens and look for every opportunity to do so. Our mandarin teachers are not only teaching the children to speak Chinese but are also providing lessons in calligraphy, paper cutting and a range of other activities that the children fully enjoy. We are fortunate to be able to provide Wu Shu and Tai Chi classes so the provision extends across the curriculum. Beyond the visible though, our partnerships have also seen changes in classroom practice prompted by some of the lessons we’ve learnt from our peers in China.
The mandarin lessons in school give the children the chance to learn a new language from a native speaker. From the earliest years the children are learning songs, rhymes, games and stories and as they move through the school they build on these early activities developing their vocabulary and eventually moving onto some basic characters and writing. We recently hosted a group of Y6 Chinese pupils who were visiting the UK. It gave our children the chance to converse with their peers in mandarin building on the penpal letters they had sent in preparation for the visit.
The school also provides outreach for a number of schools in the area and we are keen to expand this support. Moving forward we intend to provide opportunities for the children to work together with peers in local schools, to share their learning and perform together. In this shrinking world we believe it is important to provide the children with real global experiences that not only excite them as learners today, but also give them an understanding and respect as tomorrow’s global citizens.