Confucius Institute of Latrobe University Successfully Holds Cultural Activities for Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival at Yarraville West Primary School

[Source]    Confucius Institute at La Trobe University [Time]    2017-06-13 14:01:24 

The friendly and deep bond between Yarraville West Primary School and Confucius Institute of Latrobe University stared far from 2013 with the establishment of a continuously running after-school-care Chinese class. On 23th and 25th of May, a great variety of cultural activities were provided by Confucius Institute of Latrobe University for all students at Yarraville West Primary School. Confucius Institute of RMIT University offered great and generous help in both providing materials and workshops. The theme of all sorts of colorful activities designed and prepared is for letting the local students to have a closer look and embrace of Chinese Dragon Boat Festival during their Wellbeing Week event. 825 students ranging from Prep to Grade 5/6 gained a lot of enjoyment and basic knowledge of Dragon Boat Festival after their active participation and their joyful interaction with Chinese teachers & volunteers from the Confucius Institute of La Trobe University.

Taking students’ age, assurance of safety, sense of amusement to be enjoyed and all unique elements of Dragon Boat Festival into consideration, 6 types of activities were carried out for different grades of students and two types for each grade.

Chinese Teacher Deng Qi demonstrating how to make dragon boat

Indoor dragon boat race

After listening and watching an interesting and mysterious story of Quyuan, 5 groups of overall 119 Prep students had a cheerful hour in the morning on 23th of May in making a hand craft of dragon boat and later in participating in a dragon boat relay race game. As for the materials for making a dragon boat, teachers and volunteers from the CI had done all cutting in advance for students’ convenience.

Volunteer Chinese Teacher Liu Xiaoyuan explaining rules for Ping-pong Game

In the early afternoon on 23th of May, ten groups of overall 267 students were amazed by the history of Chinese dragon festival after which they had some quiet boat designing time and some wonderful teamwork in playing Ping Pong. Telling by their indescribable excitement and happiness seeing the materials, it might be the first time for many of them to see a Ping Pong ball for real which makes this celebration more meaningful and special for their age. Whoever threw the Ping Pong ball into a plastic cup, a round of applause would run in the classroom and the kid would be given a classroom buck for a little prize, namely a Chinese bookmark. Each classroom was filled with festive and joyful atmosphere.

On 25th of May, ten groups of overall 254 grade ½ students had a wonderful morning designing their own dragon boats and later competing in a dragon boat relay race. Either kneeling down or lowering their body, our Chinese teachers and volunteers were always ready to offer help and answer questions. Besides, the wonderment and excitement in each kid’s beautiful eyes motivated each Chinese teacher and volunteer to illustrate this festival or the instructions for the activities more patiently and carefully.

Students practicing calligraphy

Later on, eight groups of overall 185 grades 5/6 students enjoyed their very first experience of Chinese calligraphy, after which two Chinese teachers from Confucius Institute of RMIT contributed a lot for the celebration by giving students a well-illustrated and well- prepared presentation of traditional Chinese herbs. DIY sachet and another fun activity relating to sachet continued to attract students’ attention. Plenty of beautiful gifts were given to students who participated in the workshop or activities.

Calligraphy works of students

Two meaningful and cheerful days were spent for teachers and volunteers from the Confucius Institute of La Trobe and RMIT to bond with the students. During the break time between activities, many students came to our Chinese teachers and volunteers saying “hello” in Chinese or “thanks for bringing us a lot of fun today”, while some brave ones asked “when will be the next Chinese festival? Will we have some other activities like today? Could I have another bookmark? etc.” In a broad sense, undoubtedly both cultural and social significance of celebrating Chinese Dragon Boat festival at Yarraville West Primary School was established and recognized during those two days;in a narrow sense, hearing any tiny positive feedback from those innocent kids or seeing them carefully holding their handmade dragon boats and sachet back home gave a great sense of fulfilment and achievement to each of our Chinese teacher and volunteer. All the efforts put in organizing this event, all the designing and idea-collecting process, all staff meetings to settle activities down, all those emails sent and received, and all the preparation paid off. As far as I know, our Chinese teachers and volunteers still think and talk about those kids’ cute questions about dragon, Qu yuan, and China.

By Jing Ma