Our Mandarin staff have done an amazing job, creating wonderful learning experiences for the children in classes including arts & crafts workshops, teaching songs and telling traditional stories, dancing, martial arts and even cooking delicious food. They also worked hard to prepare the students for the spectacular Chinese New Year Show on Wednesday where the children entertained a full auditorium of family and friends. The children had a great time performing and it was wonderful to also see our parents take to the stage to perform some traditional dancing –their dancing was excellent and they looked fabulous!
Pre-show, those who arrived early enough were treated to delicious food from the different regions of China kindly cooked and served by our lovely, and beautifully dressed, parents. This has been a great few weeks, brought to a close today with Red Day when students and staff dressed in traditional costumes or the colour red to celebrate the New Year. To end it all for this year, the day was loudly marked by a cacophony of fire crackers marking the end of term and the start of the Chinese New Year break. Thanks to everyone in the school community that helped make this such a special celebration for us all!
Events such as our Chinese New Year programme are a great way to showcase and share culture and recognise our context as an International School here in China. However, we are an International School not just because of the rich cultural diversity of our school community but also importantly, through our philosophy and mission to develop internationally minded learners. In our increasingly interconnected world, children need to be learning in independent and interdependent ways. As they grow up, today’s children will increasingly come across people of different cultures in their education, work, travel and their daily lives. They will progressively be faced with the need to appreciate, accept and live alongside the views and behaviours of people who don’t necessarily think or behave like they do. They will then become adults in a world where the major global problems can really only be successfully solved through international co-operation. This is why we work hard through our formal and informal curriculum to ensure that the development of international mindedness is an integral and sustained part of children’s learning. Yes we have our fantastic International Week and celebrate different national festivals, but international mindedness cannot just be an add-on lesson or themed day. We want it to be a fundamental part of children’s learning in order to develop their knowledge and deepen their understanding of what international mindedness means and looks like in daily life.
We want to move a child from being only aware of him or herself, to developing an awareness of others. We create situations where children are encouraged to progressively look at themselves, their family, their school, their community and their country from their own context and that of other children and people living in other parts of the world; learning not only about the differences but also, crucially, the similarities between countries and cultures. We encourage students to understand that all cultures have equal validity and to practice tolerance and understanding and we aim to develop reflective and open minded young people who will adopt a caring and respectful approach to their lives, wherever they study or work.
So, whether you are spending the New Year break in China or further afield, do take the time to talk with your children about the cultural environment that they are in now, how that differs from their own, how we need to be respectful, tolerant and internationally minded.
I hope that everyone has a well-earned rest and Xin Nian Kuai Le!
- Niki Meehan, Head of Primary