3 August 2022

Mandarin Summer School for Children - A Look Back...

From Monday, July 25th to Thursday, July 28th, the Mandarin Summer School for Children took place, with STEM, Fun Maths and Language & Literature classes delivered by dedicated and talented teachers... read on to find out how it went!

Full Summer school team
Summer school teachers and volunteers

The Mandarin Summer School for Children - 25th - 28th July, 2022.

The Mandarin Summer School for Children started a decade ago, all the way back in 2012, with a clear mission, to invest in community and learning around the Chinese language and Chinese culture - for young learners and adult volunteers and teachers alike. Originally set up in the spirit of the 2012 London Olympics and its predecessor, the Beijing 2008 Olympics, the school has always championed a spirit of inclusion, friendship and discovery. Now after completing its latest iteration 10 years on, the Sheffield Confucius Institute and the Star Mandarin school for children couldn't be more refreshed and revitalised, ready for a year of exciting projects and growth.

Teacher Qiang gives Chinese language lesson
Teacher Qiang gives Chinese language lesson

Why was the Summer School created?

The school has always provided opportunities for students, parents and volunteer students from the University of Sheffield. The school itself has always performed two important functions, firstly it provides a link to Chinese culture for Sheffield’s sizeable Chinese diaspora, a chance for parents to continue to introduce and compound the important link that their children have to their heritage, a process which adds important layers and depth to a child’s life. Secondly and perhaps most importantly, the initiative allows children and volunteers to become accustomed to the positive effects of Chinese culture, ideas and lessons that they wouldn't usually have the opportunity to experience. 
 

We welcome everybody who can offer their time and effort to help - the school has provided attendees with a sense of belonging, even during the darkest hours, when schools closed during Covid, we were there to welcome students and people were thankful

Dr. Xinqun Hu

Leader of Mandarin Summer School

Teacher Shan leading performance of fan dancing
Teacher Shan leading performance of fan dancing

 
What was taught in this year’s Mandarin Summer School for Children?

The syllabus for this year’s school consisted of three main subjects that were split into small subjects and activities, consisting of: STEM, Fun Maths and Language & Literature courses. The subjects were delivered to three groups of children divided roughly by age. The classes were expertly delivered by our local part-time teachers, Nancy Guo, Evie Wood, Sagar Simkhada, Ofelia Qiang and with an end of school performance facilitated by part-time teacher, Shan Handley. Each lesson was delivered in the beautiful classrooms and building of the Bartolome house building on the University of Sheffield campus, cared for assiduously by Star Mandarin School Leader, Dr. Xinqun Hu. The following is a breakdown of some of the classes delivered by our dedicated teachers, complete with some photos to give you a better idea! 

Teacher Sagar with students in STEM class
Teacher Sagar with students in STEM class

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and Fun Maths - These classes were delivered by teachers Evie Wood and Sagar Simkhada, Evie’s background as a medical student and Sagar’s background in Mechanical Engineering, Accountancy and Finance really helped to create an informative, challenging but also balanced, fun and interactive group of lessons across the four days. With such potentially challenging topics, it's so important for teachers to make the lessons fun and engaging for the students, especially considering that the lessons are delivered during the summer holidays. Our teachers did not disappoint - visitors to the lessons were greeted by drawings of human skulls and human physiology, models of organs and lessons on how to diagnose patients and their illnesses, lessons on the building of tall structures and an assortment of science and maths based lessons designed to stimulate and educate simultaneously. 

Kid with heart model
Student with heart model in STEM class
STEM class lung model
STEM class lung model
Teacher Evie delivers STEM class
Teacher Evie delivers STEM class

I loved seeing the kids' learning processes through our activities… using their intuition and problem solving skills to form ideas that were completely out of the box…

Sagar Simkhada 

Teacher of the Summer School’s STEM and Maths classes

I’ve taught second year medical students and the kids were just as smart, they didn't have a filter, the kids' knowledge was innate, they just knew how to look after and diagnose patients in the anatomy classes… very smart kids!

Evie Wood

Teacher of the Summer School’s STEM classes


Language & Literature - The importance of language and literature to Chinese culture can never be understated. From beautiful calligraphy and the very meaning of Chinese characters with their numerous radicals, to Chinese poetry and its timeless encapsulation of imagery throughout the ages. We were fortunate to have these subjects taught by our dedicated and experienced part-time teachers, Ofelia Qiang and Nancy Guo. Another bonus of teaching these subjects is their adaptability, from the teaching of songs and nursery rhymes for younger students to the exploration of poetry, text and song with older students, there’s something for everyone with plentiful opportunities for fun along the way. 

Teacher Guo with students in Language & Literature class
Teacher Guo with students in Language & Literature class
Teacher Qiang with students in Language & Literature class
Teacher Qiang with students in Language & Literature class
Chinese poetry slide
Poem from the Language & Literature class

I'm impressed with the kids - no matter what question they’re asked and however hard the question is, they go for it and try their best to answer.

Nancy Guo

Teacher of the Summer School’s Language & Literature classes


Final Performance - The culmination of the school’s four days saw the children excitedly preparing for a final performance to show off to their parents what they had learned and practised during their time with the school. The audience was delighted with the show, which contained everything from Chinese poetry recitals to the singing of nursery rhymes in Chinese, to Kung Fu and Chinese cultural dance displays - with a presentation of work the students had made in their science and maths classes to the parents. It was a lovely end to an excellent summer school experience.

Chinese tapers dance performance
Chinese tapers dance performance
Students singing Chinese nursery rhymes
Students singing Chinese nursery rhymes
STEM model presentation
STEM heart model presentation
Chinese music performance
Chinese music performance

 

The learning journey is only just beginning…

Now that the summer school has come to a close, it’s time to anticipate our next big milestone for the young learning platform of the Sheffield Confucius Institute and the University of Sheffield, which is the September semester opening of the Star Mandarin School. Classes start from 17th September on weekends, delivered both in-person (also at Bartolome House) and online and there are a number of courses to choose from, from primary and secondary maths to Mandarin and arts classes. To find out more and to book your child’s place, please visit: Star School for ages 3.5–18 | 语言和文化学校青少年部 / 孔子学院星星学校 | Confucius Institute | The University of Sheffield


Thank you for reading!

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