Forefront of celebration

(shanghai daily)
Updated: 2007-02-14 08:44

Dulwich College students rehearsing for Lunar New Year performances tomorrow

Walking around Dulwich College Shanghai this week is like stepping into a Lunar New Year wonderland. A fat golden pig greets visitors at the door while gorgeous cherry blossom branches display new year ornaments made by students; on every door are the characters for "good luck" and "prosperity."

Dulwich may have British roots - the college is affiliated with London's prestigious Dulwich College - but celebrating its Chinese home is an important part of school life.

For the Lunar New Year, the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar, every one of the college's 900 students have been rehearsing for a Lunar New Year celebration which will take place tomorrow.

The students, ranging from nursery school to year 11, will put on more than 30 individual performances, from a dragon dance to a Tibetan dance to acts using traditional instruments, dances, songs and poems. The grand finale is a show-stopping fashion parade of more than 30 ethnic Chinese costumes.

"Preparing for the Lunar New Year celebration has offered the students first-hand knowledge and insight into Chinese culture and language," said Cissy Li, head of the Mandarin department and co-organizer of the celebration. "To bring this cultural understanding to the students in a way that they would enjoy, we used Western teaching methods of 'learning through doing.'''

Each Mandarin teacher used their individual talents and gave the students a choice of what to perform. "We wanted the students to be enthused about the Lunar New Year," said Li. "To this end, we felt that by allowing them choice, it would bring out the best in each child."

In the spirit of the traditional Lunar New Year Fair, the Dulwich celebration, which was co-organized by the Friends of Dulwich parents group, also features a Chinese bazaar. Traditional crafts will be on hand, as well as Lunar New Year treats, such as jiao zi (dumplings) and tang yuan (sweet glutinous rice balls).

"The parent body throughout the college has been wonderfully supportive," said Erika Ng-Wirt, the Friends of Dulwich Chinese New Year coordinator. "It is a fantastic opportunity for the community to learn more about Chinese tradition and culture."

Watching the students gracefully weave across the stage in the dragon dance, hearing them sing in flawless Chinese, it is clear that this is an opportunity that has already enriched these students.

Dulwich College Shanghai is a co-educational, non-denominational academic institution committed to the highest standards of 21st century education.

It adheres to the national curriculum of England and Wales and prepares students for the IGCSE examinations.

The college has two campuses (DUCKS Kindergarten and Main Campus) in the center of Jinqiao, Pudong.

Address: 222 Lanan Road, Jinqiao, Pudong
Tel: 021-5899-9910


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