Reading Chinese School said goodbye to the sneaky snake and hello to the heroic year of the horse at their Chinese New Year Party at Highdown School, Emmer Green on February 2.
Mr Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West, was among the dignitaries in attendance along with Councillor Marian Livingston, Mayor of Reading.
In his speech Alok Sharma said ‘In my opinion, I think Chinese should be a basic subject in schools across the country. This is an economic argument, we all recognise that the Chinese economy is heading towards being the biggest in the world’.
Mr Sharma praised Reading Chinese School for being part of the work in integrating the UK and China. ‘Culture, trade and family are massively vital and part of that is the work that you do here at the school.’
Pictures: Lynda Bowyer Photography
The New Year party started with workshops and demonstrations. Douglas Elson of the Chen Academy, Oxford gave lessons in Kung Fu and T’ai Chi explaining how you need power, flexibility and balance.
For those who didn’t want to be quite so energetic you could learn Chinese calligraphy or origami. There were also Chinese Tea Ceremony demonstrations.
Original artwork was on display with paintings by Mr Zhemin Cheng. Mr Cheng has been painting in the traditional Chinese style for 40 years. His daughter Yao, a teacher at the school, was delighted to be presenting his art. ‘I’m so proud of my dad’s paintings, I am very excited’.
The noisiest part of the occasion, was the Lion Dance. The lion and the laughing Buddha danced and jumped to drums, gongs and cymbals, finally showering the audience with green leaves symbolising a fresh start and the spreading of good luck.
Everyone joined in with performances ranging from the reception class to adults. From the youngest children and their ribbon dance to the teachers who did a dance with traditional fans, along with music, poetry and plays we were allowed behind the scenes at the school.
There was a lovely atmosphere at the party. The children performed with confidence, enjoying the experience as much as their parents.
Reading is fortunate in having a Chinese school and is leading the way in the sort of cross cultural education that Alok Sharma is asking for.