2016 Chinese Language and Culture Camp

Children in the Language and Culture Camp posing for martial arts and other crafts.
Children in the Language and Culture Camp posing for martial arts and other crafts.

Calling all parents and children who desire to learn another language and culture! The recent Chinese Language and Culture Summer Camp offered by Confucius Institute in McGuffey Hall at Miami University is centered on immersing children from K-8th grades in Mandarin, lasting two weeks from July 18 to July 29, 2016. There were a total of 19 children participating in the summer kids’ camp in two groups; one was k-5th grade, and the other one was 6-8th grade per week, respectively.

The summer camp aims to spark children’s interests in learning language and culture. It was designed based on children’s language level, interests, background, and age so the schedule mainly stuck to three aspects to promote mandarin immersion in the classroom. These included language learning, martial arts, and traditional cultural activities. Children were expected to make greetings, count numbers, introduce their family members, and tell the food and drink. Children were taught the martial arts - Five Fists and Steps every day.

Also, children did lots of traditional activities such as panda paper-cutting, calligraphy, opera masks making, fan crafting, kite making, rope jumping, and song singing. At the beginning of each class, the origins of each activity would be introduced to the class to enhance students’ background knowledge about Chinese culture. The above image shows the character of “Fu” (good luck) children wrote on the read paper.

At the end of each week, children were expected to make a performance to show what they learned throughout the whole week to their parents. The above image also shows all the people involved in the first-week summer camp, including parents, children, staffs, and teachers. Children were able to introduce their name, age, and family members in fluent Chinese. Children were able to sing and dance Chinese popular songs, “Hello Panda” and “Healthy Song”, and the most exciting moment was that parents were dancing “Little Apple” with their children.

After the graduation ceremony, lots of positive responses were received from parents and children by expressing their desires for further learning in mandarin language and culture in the future. There is one child named Jaden who is really interested in Asian culture due to his Dad’s influence, and he had strong willingness to travel around China after the camp. He was upset because it was the last day, and his father comforted him that he could join again next year, which gave all the teachers and staffs more confidence to better prepare the summer camp for next year. Also, a parent who is the staff in Miami University said, “My child was very happy this week, and it is good for her to develop her personalities from knowing different culture. Also, the three teachers were very professional and children learned a lot”.