Writer: Michelle Wang (ECE Chinese Coordinator); Sissy Shen (Primary Chinese Coordinator); Amy Yang (Secondary Chinese Coordinator)
Dear Parents and Students,
Happy New Year! We hope you are all well.
In the past, Chinese New Year has traditionally been a time of gathering and celebration with family and friends and we always look forward to a longer holiday. However, the Spring Festival holiday in 2020 has been a little different, a holiday we didn’t expect at all! Under the clear sky and the bright sunshine, our YCIS campus is unusually quiet and strictly under the protection of our campus security. Although this matter is worrying, as long as we really understand the situation, deal with it correctly, and maintain physical and mental health, we are sure that we will win this battle. We also want you to know that at this time, there are so many people around us who are working hard to find ways to control the spread of this virus and ensure the health and safety of everyone, as well as teachers and all the YCIS Community members have been dedicated to supporting each other.
In this particular situation, we would also suggest parents take this as an educational opportunity to discuss some topics such as: life, freedom, environment, earth, kindness, gratitude, courage, truth and community of common destiny with children. Therefore, ECE and Y1 teachers have shared some related resources, from Y2 and above in Chinese Studies we launched PBL (project based learning) tasks. These will shape the perspectives of the students and support their future development through giving them a broader cultural and interpersonal mindset as global citizens. More information and resources have been shared by teachers through the online learning platform. We also see improvements in the quality of the e-Learning every day, while also acknowledging its challenges. It’s brand new to all of us; quite an adjustment! We are collecting feedback from teachers every day and also from students to ensure we make incremental improvements to our e-Learning offerings. The first two weeks have shown a high level of engagement in our online learning platforms by our students.
Thank you again for partnering with us during this unprecedented time. We can still remember the last school event before the Spring Festival which was full of happiness and laughter. As one of our major traditions, we celebrated the Chinese New Year with special events from ECE to Secondary. We would like to take this opportunity to give you a quick review of the 2020 Chinese New Year celebration events, and to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who has given their time, talents and enthusiasm.
The traditional festival is the best time for ECE students to learn and understand Chinese Culture. We arranged various activities, including Art, storytelling and new year’s dance to enrich children’s experience. The ECE invited lots of parents to participate in Chinese New Year and cultural celebrations. K2 parents brought dumplings (Jiaozi), teaching children to have the experience of dumpling making. This was a great opportunity for children and parents have fun together. K3 children and their parents worked together to make the hand-made Chinese Zodiac character of the rat. K4 children learned to write Chinese characters ‘Fu’ and ‘spring’ with the calligraphy teacher, in addition to using regular script to write the Chinese characters, K4 children experienced the Chinese characters in small seal script. The children clearly benefited from these experiences.
In Primary, each year level had their own theme this year: Y1: Traditional Festivals; Y2: Traditional Art; Y3: Living in Shanghai; Y4: Chinese Food; Y5: Chinese Treasures; Y6: Traditional Games. There were many amazing cultural activities students experienced in line with to their theme over the entire Chinese Culture Week. The Y5 and Y6 students also designed and organised their own activities and invited the younger Year 1-4 students to visit the Century Park Campus Learning Communities to share their knowledge. Another highlight of the week was the external professional art studio, who were running collaborative art workshops for all Primary students. All these art pieces have been displayed in the corridors at both Pudong campuses. If you pass by, you will definitely be amazed! Parents also had a taste of Chinese theme painting, experiencing the joy of art.
The Chinese New Year Celebration Night on January 17 before the holiday break was another successful and unforgettable event. Inspiration came from the Temple Fair. With 32 activities, including games, Art, PE, ICT, and more, there really was something for all members of the community to enjoy. All the decorations were amazing. The performance was also a big hit once again – the poetry, traditional dance and instruments, Kungfu, Peking Opera and choir, all exhibiting the skills the students learned in their Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). We also appreciate our Secondary Students offering their time, through service learning, to support the games rooms as well as organising interactive games and quizzes. All the YCIS community worked together to make it a wonderful night!
As you might know, Chinese people begin their preparations for the Chinese New Year more than 20 days ahead. Much earlier than before the actual new year came, our Lower Secondary students received a new and exciting task: they were going to take on the mission of decorating Century Park campus to welcome in the Spring Festival. The theme was: “万象更新”, which means “Everything takes on a completely new look”. It suddenly sparked a load of latent creativities, but could we do our collaborative work more effectively?
Chinese teachers introduced them to “The Design Process”, which gave them a more streamlined approach to their work. They followed the suggested steps: using iPads to measure and record figure, collecting all the relevant information, brainstorming and analysing ideas, and even building demos/models during their presentations in class. The most crucial part was “Seeking Feedback”. They interviewed our front office team, librarians, and the canteen manager. After improving their designs, they started to decorate the campus by themselves. When all the pieces came together, and all the ideas became real, the campus really “took on a completely new look”.
Their enthusiasm for designing continued over the holiday. Although we had to cancel our Secondary Lantern Festival House Event due to the current situation, some of our Secondary students still expressed their wishes by sharing their DIY lanterns from home. We hope those lanterns bring warmth to the families in Wuhan and bring more courage and confidence to all of us.
As we look back on these moments, we look forward more to the moment of reunion and to everyone returning to campus when the spring flowers bloom. Thank you again for living out the essence of the YCIS motto of love and care.
Happy Spring Festival, wishing you good health and success throughout the new year!
Michelle, Sissy and Amy