To celebrate the Chinese New Year and the arrival of spring, different festivities were held on the premises of Headstart Elementary School on Monday.
Staff members ablaze in red outfits greeted guests and guided them to the venue while young students swarmed excitedly around stalls set up by doting teachers selling fortune-cookies, writing names in Chinese calligraphy and painting cheery faces. The programme included a parade by students (versed in conversational Chinese), Chinese songs, dances, tongue twisters and a brief but touching poem on Pakistan and China’s deep-rooted friendship. The most enthralling of performance was the dragon dance, as large costumed red and yellow dragons twisted and turned on stage, children watched with gaping mouths and excited eyes. The Headstart School introduced Chinese Language to its curriculum in September last year, allowing students from grades five to seven to understand and speak basic conversational Chinese. The school administration believes that an insight into Chinese language, culture and tradition is beneficial for the students to know the alliance of the two nations. Mariam Naveed, whose son is in 7th grade, affirms the importance to being exposed to a different language in order to sensitise children to embrace and respect different cultures around the world. Pointing to her neighbour, Dr Nasreen, whose child is in the 5th grade and therefore also learning Chinese, she saiys, “We were just discussing how wonderful it is that our children have this opportunity to learn something different.” Thirteen-year-old Mohammad Shamil and Murtaza Hasnain, who were watching the performances from the back-row, fell shy in expressing their interest towards the new addition to their syllabus. “We can only say, hello, how are you,” Murtaza said, shrugging.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2013.