BCSC Mandarin Students to Celebrate Chinese New Year

February 1, 2024

The first of January brought a new year to our traditional calendars; however, students in the Batesville Community School Corporation’s (BCSC) Mandarin dual language immersion (DLI) program will celebrate a different new year in February as a variety of traditional Chinese New Year festivities are held at school. For parents of incoming kindergarteners, these celebrations showcase the opportunities available to their children through this unique curriculum offered in Batesville.

“Chinese New Year is a significant traditional Chinese celebration marking the beginning of the Lunar New Year, each year associated with a specific animal,” explained Guili Zhang, one of the Mandarin teachers at Batesville Primary School (BPS). “For example, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon. This is a time for cultural festivities, delicious feasts, and heartfelt wishes for a prosperous year. We are excited to have the students delve into the cultural aspects of this important feast.”

At BPS, the festivities kick off on the morning of February 9 with a school-wide parade, offering an immersive cultural experience for all students. DLI students in kindergarten, first, and second grades will parade through the hallways in their traditional red as other students watch. After the parade, each grade level will continue the celebration in different ways. Kindergarten children will participate in making dumplings, a staple of Chinese cuisine. Through storytelling, games, and acting, the first graders will learn about each day of the Lunar New Year and will be introduced to traditional activities such as family feasting, visiting relatives, and the vibrant dragon and lion dances. Finally, the second-grade students will enjoy rice ball making and will play a chopsticks game, and in the afternoon, they will make bubble tea and learn more about Chinese New Year traditions and customs through videos and discussions. All BPS DLI students will receive the customary gift of red envelopes containing chocolate coins. Parents of current DLI students are invited to participate in the February 9 celebrations with their children.

At Batesville Intermediate School (BIS), the third-grade students will spend the week of February 5 through 9 learning about Chinese New Year traditions, songs, dancing, and crafts. The activities will culminate on Friday with stations learning about paper cutting, calligraphy, games, dressing up with traditional outfits, and making couplets. Parents will be invited to join in the classroom activities. All BIS DLI students will present a Chinese New Year Showcase for their parents on Friday, February 9. The program consists of a performance by third graders, a play on the Chinese Zodiac by fourth graders, and a dance and duet by fifth graders. The program finale includes songs by all DLI students.

After the performance, BIS and Batesville Middle School (BMS) students will participate in a Chinese New Year parade, which will begin at BIS and conclude at BMS. It will include homemade dragons and lions crafted by fifth graders from recycled materials All BMS DLI parents are encouraged to attend the parade. BMS DLI students will extend the Chinese New Year festivities through February 23, featuring school-wide activities such as a door decorating and poster contest, themed around Chinese New Year traditions, with winners announced at the contest’s conclusion. Educational videos and trivia activities will engage students as they learn about the customs and traditions. The sixth-grade Chinese students will teach their classmates about Chinese culture through crafts, writing Chinese names, and introducing the 12 zodiac animals. Seventh graders will participate in dumpling making, adding a culinary element to the celebrations.

With BPS kindergarten registration opening on February 5, parents of those students are encouraged to contact the school corporation to learn more about this program and determine if it is a good fit for their child.

“We are excited about offering incoming kindergarten families the unique opportunity to be in the ninth cohort of this Mandarin DLI program, the only one of its kind in an Indiana public K-12 school system,” said Paul Ketcham, BCSC superintendent. “The foundation the DLI program provides will lead to the opportunity for students to earn college credits in Mandarin when they reach Batesville High School.”

For more information about BCSC’s Mandarin Dual Language Immersion program, contact Jackie Huber at (812) 934-2194 or jhuber@batesville.k12.in.us.

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