Learning simple Chinese is hugely rewarding for children of all ages.
We established the first Confucius Classroom in a primary school in the UK in partnership with St Paul's CE Primary School, Withington, Manchester in 2008, and a second at The Gleddings Preparatory School in Halifax, West Yorkshire in November 2010. These classrooms act as Chinese teaching hubs for the community, allowing educators to share resources and build a community around Chinese teaching and learning in the region.
Confucius Classroom at St Paul's CE Primary School
Having already established a partnership with a school in Beijing in 2005, Mr Don Berry, former Head Teacher of St Paul's, was inspired by his visit to Bai Jiazhuang Primary School in Beijing. He saw that learning Chinese language could open up a whole a new world to his pupils, and approached the Confucius Institute to set up after-school clubs for his pupils. Now the teaching of Chinese is extended to half of the Year 3 and Year 4 children.
St Paul's has a full time Chinese language teacher, Jessica Zhang, and children of Y1 and Y2 learn Chinese as part of the curriculum, while an after-school club is open to the rest of the pupils.
Confucius Classroom at The Gleddings Preparatory School
We have worked closely with pupils and teachers at The Gleddings Preparatory School since 2008 when they began learning about Mandarin and Chinese culture.
Mandarin is taught to both Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils at The Gleddings. Key Stage 1 children (Year I and II) are provided with one forty minutes lesson per week whilst children from Key Stage II (Year III to Year VI) receive a half an hour lesson weekly.
The specialist Mandarin teacher, Fiona Chen, teaches all of the lessons. Mandarin is taught in an informal style in a relaxed atmosphere. The main aims are for the children to enjoy learning the language and for them to be enthusiastic and gain confidence.
The Mandarin teacher has held short talks on Chinese festivals and other Chinese themed topics. Fun activities such as paper-cutting, lantern making and Chinese folk dancing have been introduced to the children. Live performances of Chinese folk singing, the Chinese musical instruments, pipa and a lion dance have been organised to help the children develop an appreciation and understanding of Chinese culture.
The school has also introduced Mandarin and Chinese culture to the parents as well as local schools and the businesses in the sub-region.