LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 6, 2011) – Central Kentucky students have the opportunity to explore a whole new world without leaving Lexington this week as the University of Kentucky Confucius Institute organized its first Spring Break Chinese Language and Chinese Culture Camp.
Students from third to sixth grade are participating in a weeklong camp April 4-8, focusing on simple Chinese language and a wide variety of cultural activities.
"This is one of the few Spring Break camps held by all the Confucius Institutes," said Director Huajing Maske. "We wanted to try something new. This year is a great learning year for us. And many parents don't get the same Spring Break as their children."
The CI's campers will have five days of varied activities, according to Maske. "Every day is different," she said.
To begin the day, campers will do the same exercises that Chinese children do at school each morning. Exercise will be followed by a language session, some writing, games and arts and crafts.
"The games from my childhood are coming back," said Maske. "And the kids are really getting into it."
The Confucius Institute is hosting another Chinese Language and Culture Camp for students from eighth to 12th grade this summer with the possibility of applying for a study trip to China this summer as well.
In addition to camps, the Confucius Institute began offering a language and culture class series in January. Classes ranging from martial arts Taiji fan and sword dance to Chinese music, art, language and connoisseurship have become quite popular with community members, as well as UK faculty, staff and students of all ages. "Many of our students want us to extend the class time," Maske said. "We have a mother and her six-month old boy taking our parent/child Chinese classes, and we just had an 81-year-old woman sign up for a Chinese language class."
Upcoming classes include Chinese dance and medicine.
The University of Kentucky Confucius Institute will provide leadership, support and coordination for Chinese language and programs in K-12 schools as well as on the UK campus; assist in establishing and maintaining faculty and student exchange between UK's College of Fine Arts and Shanghai University's College of Fine Arts; conduct Chinese language and cultural exchange; and promote education about China on campus, across the Bluegrass region and throughout Kentucky.
Maske sees the role of the Confucius Institute as an important one in the Central Kentucky community.
"These camps and classes are great opportunities for students to be exposed to curriculum that isn't offered in school and to hear the sounds of a different culture," she said. "If we can provide this service to our children, we should, as they deserve every opportunity to be exposed to all of the different cultures in the world."
For more information on upcoming classes and camps, please see the Confucius Institute website at http://www.uky.edu/Confucius/.