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Celebrating the Year of the Rat

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Bolton School spent a whole week celebrating Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Rat. At the Junior Boys’ School, which has had Confucius Classroom status since 2015 and teaches Mandarin as part of the curriculum, all pupils enjoyed learning about the myth of the Chinese Zodiac in assembly. This was followed by a series of dance workshops where the boys used movement to become tigers, warriors, elephants, flowing water and even fireworks.

Junior Boys’ teacher Mr Hough also spent a day delivering an introduction to Mandarin Chinese for all the classes at Gilded Hollins School in Leigh. Children from Reception up to Year 6 learned about tones, greetings and counting and discovered more about Chinese culture. These outreach lessons were organised with the Junior Boys’ School in its role as a Confucius Classroom and as part of a Chinese cultural week at Gilded Hollins School.

Parents from Manchester Chinese School shared aspects of their traditional culture with pupils by decorating Beech House, Bolton School’s Infant School. They hung lanterns throughout the School’s corridors and arranged displays of red envelopes, golden apples and other traditional elements of Chinese New Year celebrations. The Library also featured a display of books about Chinese culture, the zodiac and Chinese New Year. At the end of the week, the children dressed in red or traditional clothing and had fun in a colourful ribbon dance workshop.

At the Nursery and in the Nursery Class, children dressed in lucky red for the occasion. The Caterpillar Room painted paper fans and made vegetable stir fry, while the Butterfly Room crafted beautiful Chinese dragons. Younger children created red and gold paintings and tried using chopsticks.

Even the School’s catering department got involved, providing celebratory spreads of Chinese food for Junior Boys, Senior Boys and children at the Nursery.

Pupils can pursue their interest in Mandarin in Senior School too. In the Boys’ and Girls’ Division, eleven pupils attend a weekly after-school Mandarin class with the aim of achieving a GCSE in the language. These lessons build on the success of last year, when four girls successfully sat their Mandarin GCSE, achieving grades 9, 8, 7 and 6. The three-year course takes students from a beginner-level foundation in tones, pinyin and core everyday language through to GCSE themes with a thorough and comprehensive approach to grammar, study skills and vocabulary. As well as being highly academic, the course is also full of vibrant cultural studies and experiences to enhance the students’ Mandarin journey.

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