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This week, students across Lambeth Academy have been taking part in celebrations to mark the Chinese New Year.

Based on the lunar calendar, this year’s Chinese New Year was on 25th January and sees us usher in the Year of the Rat. The rat is the first of all zodiac creatures and in Chinese culture is associated with prosperity and the welcoming of a new day. 

At Lambeth Academy, to mark the occasion, students have been enjoying themed activities during their lunchtimes over the course of the week. Each day, this has given them the chance to explore a different element of Chinese popular culture, in addition to their existing Mandarin language classes.

The week started off with a chopstick challenge, where students learnt the proper way to use them and found out more about the ancient utensils’ important place within Chinese food culture. Students have also enjoyed a table tennis competition – one of China’s most popular and successful sports – and took part in a workshop on the art of Chinese lantern making.

The week ends on Friday with charity sale of bubble tea – the popular drinks craze. Funds raised will go to Refugee Action, as chosen by Sixth Form students.

Last year, as part of their Modern Foreign Languages curriculum, Year 8 students made a once-in-a-lifetime visit to China. The experience allowed the group to interact with and learn from native Mandarin speakers as well as see the sights and sounds of Kunming. Since then, students have been keen to continue developing their language skills and deepen their knowledge and understanding of Chinese life, history and culture.

Opportunities like this week’s celebrations, which bring learning to life for pupils outside of the classroom, are a core part of what Lambeth Academy calls ‘Education with Character’.

Katie Wang, Mandarin teacher at Lambeth Academy, said:

“This week has been a fun and lively way of celebrating Chinese New Year and introducing our students to some elements of Chinese culture that may have been new to them. Mandarin has been a very popular subject at our academy, as one of the world’s most widely spoken languages, and students have really enjoyed developing their learning through these sorts of extra enrichment activities. Everyone has enjoyed getting involved – from Year 7 right through to our Sixth Form and staff as well!”

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