On Friday September 9, William Light School officially celebrated the launch of their Confucius Classroom, taking the opportunity to talk to the local community about the beginning of bilingual education at the school in 2017.
Announced earlier this years as South Australia’s first Chinese-English Bilingual school, and the second school in SA to host a Confucius Classroom, hundreds of children, parents and community leaders gathered at William Light to celebrate the achievements of the school and their students.
Present at the event were the Director of the Confucius institute, Professor Mobo Gao, Minister of Education Susan Close, and visiting from Shandong, Deputy Governor Xia Geng, who along with School Principal Linda Richardson, all spoke of the importance of cross-cultural communication and the benefits of language.
In his speech Deputy Governor Geng said “As an old Chinese saying goes: it takes 10 years to grow a tree while it takes 100 years to educate a person. Interpersonal exchanges are core for the long-term development between our state and province”. Principal Richardson agreed saying that “every great journey starts with the first step, and that step has now been taken in our journey of bilingual education.” She then highlighted the relationships that they hope to foster between her school and those in Shandong, explaining that they would connect with their sister school in China on a daily basis, sharing their learning and growing their relationship day-by-day.
As part of the celebration, South Australia’s other Confucius Classroom host, Salisbury High, were present with their amazing Lion Dancers helping to build a fantastic atmosphere. Also performing were a wide cross-section of some of the most amazingly talented members of the local Chinese community including the Chinese School of Music, Mei’s Dance Company, and Oz China Pty Ltd, who along with some brilliant performances from students at William Light helped to entertain a crowd of close to 500 people throughout the afternoon.
In addition to watching performances, students (and parents!) also got hands-on with several activities run by the Confucius Institute and our generous volunteers including learning Chinese knotting, having a go at Chinese Calligraphy and learning to kick a kind of ‘Chinese hacky sack’ called a Jianzi.
The school will begin teaching 50% of all classes in Chinese starting with year 3 student next year, while reception to year 2 and year 8 students will participate in daily Chinese lessons.
The program will progressively expand each year to eventually include all students from years 3-7, and being offered as an optional stream from Years 8-12 (2022 onward).