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Dulwich College celebrates Year of the Ox

AS winter was approaching its peak, students, parents and teachers of Dulwich College Shanghai staged a Chinese New Year extravaganza.

Everywhere the school bubbled with excitement and activity. Cherry blossom branches, lanterns, dragons, paper-cuttings and calligraphy - many created by students - filled corridors and draped school walls.

The year 2009 is the Year of the Ox, symbolizing prosperity through fortitude and hard work. The Spring Festival is the most celebrated occasion in China, presenting us the rich heritage of one of the world's most ancient civilizations.

The first performances of the day took place at Ducks campus, where young students participated in over 30 performances over two days. Parents filled the hall, arriving early, eagerly waiting to see their children perform.

The students put on a wonderful display. The audience could hardly keep the smiles from their faces, sighing regularly in what seemed to be disbelief, as young performers displayed their Mandarin skills through singing and recitation.

Then it was off to junior and senior school, where students took part in, and were exposed to, a diverse mix of experiences and performances, including lion and fan dances, Chinese instrumental ensembles, folk music and choir performances, readings of ancient poetry and martial art performances.

The commitment and focus of students was a real tribute to themselves and their teachers. Above all, the students had fun with their classmates while experiencing a different culture in a country other than their own. Chinese New Year celebrations provide the students of Dulwich with a cultural awareness and sensitivity that is significant in the development of understanding of cultures across the globe.

"We achieve this by 'learning through doing'," said Min Dai, director of languages and co-organizer of the celebrations.

Although the college has very traditional educational values through its close ties with Dulwich College London, it is also driven by the energy and cultural diversity of its home country. All students benefit from the rich experience of living in China through adventure trips to nearby cities, opportunities to play in Chinese music ensembles and a strong focus on Mandarin.

Parents, through the Friends of Dulwich organization, also took part in the celebrations by participating in performances of their own. The organization interacts closely with the school and provides an avenue for parents to participate and socialize in a fun and casual forum.

Dulwich College Shanghai delivers an enhanced English National Curriculum education to an international group of children from toddlers to nine years of age, IGCSE for years 10 and 11 and the International Baccalaureate for years 12 and 13.


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