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Chinese New Year to be marked with online events for schoolchildren

Published January 21, 2021 11.46am


Chinese New Year will be marked in schools across County Durham with a series of online events next month.

We have today announced that a programme of virtual activities will take place in honour of the lunar New Year and the Year of the Ox, which is celebrated from Monday 8 to Friday 12 February.

Although public events cannot take place this year due to coronavirus, the council's International Relations Team is working with partners at Durham University, Durham Chinese School and GemArts to create online content for schools and pupils of all ages so that they can feel part of the festivities.

Some of this will be in the form of short videos which will be available to schools at the end of January and which class teachers can view and arrange for pupils to access safely from home.

The videos are; the story of the Ox and the Chinese Zodiac told by Durham Chinese School; Life in China today - a short film made by the Durham University Chinese Scholars' and Students' Association; and Make a Chinese dragon at home, a step-by-step guide to building a dragon using simple materials, delivered by GemArts artist Pui Lee.

Language sessions

Durham Chinese School will offer a live craft session to demonstrate calligraphy and simple paper cutting for Key Stage 1 pupils, while there will also be Chinese language taster sessions for pupils to practise simple words and phrases offered at primary and secondary level by students at the university's school of modern languages and culture.

For further information about a new British Council resource pack and video links email michele.thorns@durham.gov.uk

Further activities 

The team will also be running three types of live sessions which schools will need to book. These will be suited for classes with key workers' children or those pupils who are attending schools because of their vulnerability.

The live sessions will be delivered using Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Teachers must be present during the sessions and schools will need to book as they are offered on days and at times when contributors are free.

The sessions include a question and answer segment with an Asian student from Durham University, with the opportunity to ask questions about life in his/her home country specifically around the lunar new year, 25-minute taster sessions in Chinese delivered by students at Durham University, and a craft session by Durham Chinese School with step-by-step instructions.

Those who would like to stream one these sessions should also email michele.thorns@durham.gov.uk

The number of sessions are very limited so early application is recommended.

Fantastic opportunity 

Cllr Olwyn Gunn, our Cabinet member for children and young people's services, said: "Despite currently not being able to hold public events due to coronavirus I'm sure that pupils in our schools will enjoy learning all about this festival and the Year of the Ox.

"The online activities will provide a fantastic opportunity to find out more about Chinese culture and traditions."