12 February 2021
St Mary’s School, Cambridge ended a successful half-term of remote learning with an off-screen enrichment day to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival and the dawning of the Year of the Ox.
In Chinese culture, the Ox is valued for its role in agriculture and positive characteristics such as being hard-working and honest are also attributed to it. With hard work and honesty being central to the values that sit at the heart of St Mary’s this off curriculum day followed on from the success of Mary Ward Day, earlier in the term.
In Senior School and Sixth Form, girls were set a range of different challenges at the beginning of the day. From getting creative with origami, experimenting with recipes for traditional Moon Cakes and Chinese tea, to practising calligraphy, a sporting challenge and a family quiz – the day was filled with fun activities. Academic challenges included creative writing activities and creating posters in Mandarin. Some of our Chinese boarding students led a whole school assembly, sharing personal perspectives on how they celebrate this festival with their families, having enjoyed a Chinese takeaway meal the evening before. The day closed with a ‘Show and Tell’ tutorial session, in which girls presented the results of some of their completed challenges.
In Junior School, girls celebrated Chinese New Year in their Mandarin Lessons, followed by a special whole school assembly on New Year’s Day. As part of the curriculum, girls have been learning about the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals and they have produced some very creative work to demonstrate their learning.
Chinese New Year is always a special event in our boarding community, with many girls joining St Mary’s from China. This year was a little different, with some boarders continuing to celebrate in Cambridge by decorating Mary Ward House and sharing a New Year’s Eve meal, whilst other boarders celebrated with their families at home in China, as they continue to learn with St Mary’s through remote learning.
Claire Elliott, Head of Boarding comments: “We still enjoyed a really positive celebration for Chinese New Year with our boarders in Cambridge. I also know many boarders were happy to be spending this time at home with their families for the first time in years, but sharing an enrichment day offered the best of both worlds, as we joined together as a school community too.”
To support the involvement of student families joining the celebrations from China, Mrs Skillings, Mandarin Coordinator at St Mary’s recorded special messages in Mandarin Chinese wishing them a Happy New Year and Headmistress, Mrs Avery enjoyed learning the Chinese pronunciation, spelling and meaning of her surname:
艾雯瑞 (Ai Wen Rui)
艾 is a common surname in Chinese (pronounced Ai)
雯 is a flower-shaped cloud (pronounced Wen)
瑞 means made of Jade and is a symbol of good luck and power (pronounced Rui)
Charlotte 艾雯瑞, Headmistress reflected on the day: “St Mary’s has successfully finished half term and today celebrated all our students and staff, who have conquered the difficulties we faced with kindness and care, demonstrating our Mary Ward values. In particular, I would like to commend the really successful work of our Year 11 and 13 students, who have coped exceptionally in continuing the final phases of their GCSE and A Level studies.
Explore our Chinese New Year work: https://www.stmaryscambridge.co.uk/publications-and-media-galleries/photo-galleries/senior-school/view~chinese-new-year-2021_243.htm