Mandarin was introduced in 2009 and has gone from strength to strength. It is wondeful to see  the children enjoying themselves as they get to grips with the different tones and start to recognise, and later to write, the different characters. Study of Mandarin opens a completely new window for our children. A different culture - one of the oldest in the world - and a language unrelated to the European rainbow of languages widen their horizons.

Chinese is an exciting language to learn for several reasons; it is, on the one hand, a strategic language to learn: one fifth of the world speaks this language and they are an increasingly influential people group, with China now boasting the second highest Gross Domestic Product of any country in the world.  Chinese is also a beautiful language to learn: most students really enjoy writing and recognising the characters and they also have fun tackling a tonal language, trying to avoid referring to one’s mother as a horse for example.  An additional benefit to the students of learning Chinese is that they are introduced to China’s ancient and rich culture, with lessons, for example, focussing on festivals and customs, food and historical places of interest.

At St. Christopher’s, students receive one lesson a week of Chinese in Years 1 to 3, with the exception of Reception.  We aim to make lessons interactive and fun, with language games a regular feature.  Topics are relevant to the students’ lives: in the first year we aim to cover my name and age, my family, my home, my school bag, food and drink, parts of the body, my clothes, telling the time, my school, my hobbies, my holidays and sport.  In subsequent years, we seek to consolidate and extend learning based on the key topic areas listed above.

If you would like to find out more about the Chinese language yourself, there is a good introduction on the BBC’s website at

Another excellent website resource is a free language website called memrise, which you can access via this weblink

We hope that direct contact with mainland China will be possible through Skype in the near future.

Published in Languages

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