Dragons, spring rolls and Mandarin for Chinese New Year at Newington primary

Chinese New Year at Newington primary

The Chinese New Year has been celebrated by children and staff at Newington Community Primary School in Ramsgate.

As well as a host of cultural and fun learning activities, it is another progressive step towards learning basic communication skills in different languages.

Pupils across the school have learnt a simple song using basic Mandarin that introduces common words and phrases including hi, goodbye, please, thank you and how are you?

The aim of the celebrations were to allow the children to participate in some of the customs and traditions that form the New Year festival that began on Saturday, January 25.

Everyone wore one item of red clothing because red is a lucky colour for the Chinese.  Each class had Lucky Red envelopes to send to their friends with a written message inside wishing them a Happy and Healthy New Year.

The lunchtime menu devised by Helen Moore and her kitchen team offered tasty Chinese fare including sweet and sour chicken curry, chicken in black bean sauce, hoi sin vegetable noodles, prawn crackers, spring rolls, and fortune cookies.

It was served to more than 500 pupils and staff, and the serving counter was decorated with Chinese flags and lanterns made by pupils.

Later in the day, Reception class children accompanied a Chinese dragon to all classes to wish fellow pupils Happy New Year.

Teacher Julie Hessey co-ordinates international awareness with a range of activities and events during the school year.

She said: “The Chinese New Year was a fun day where we observed customs, heritage and culture but the bigger picture is encouraging our children of all ages to embrace a new language.

“Communication skills are vital to our pupils and are among the key learning tools they develop at Newington that will assist hem greatly as they progress in life.

“Language is what connects people, even if you know just a few simple phrases. Children appreciate that people are people wherever they are and they are keen to try out new words and embrace our ongoing language programme which has already included Spanish, Finnish and Russian.”

Children also learn through a number of language songs written by music teacher Warwick Eldred who produces short films for the school’s Triple A Vadio (video and radio) regular broadcasts online and in class as a learning resource.

He said: “Our pupils are particularly fond of these songs and I’ve been hugely impressed at the way they have all, from Reception to Year 6, applied themselves to learning the words in a number of different languages.”

.Head Teacher Cliff Stokes said: “We embrace other cultures which is essential to give our children a broad education and an understanding of a wider world view.

“The Chinese New Year is a perfect example of the effort and dedication of our staff to give our pupils a full immersive experience through language development and cultural awareness.”

*Chinese New Year, also referred to as Lunar New Year, is the Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. The festival is usually referred to as the Spring Festival in mainland China, and is one of several Lunar New Years in Asia.