China Morning at Elstree

Chinese Lions dancing, Chinese Guzheng playing, Chinese Dumplings cooking, Chinese Lanterns shining, Chinese Flags decorating the Dining Room… …it seemed that Elstree had shifted continent on Tuesday morning as the school was immersed in Chinese Culture for the morning.

Jing and Grame Aarons, who have founded and run the Anglo-China Education Foundation, had put together the most wonderful morning for Elstree with a diverse team of performers, speakers, chefs and musicians.

Mr Li Xiaopeng, from the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in London, opened the proceedings with a talk to the Year 8 boys in the Long Room, before Mrs Jing Aarons gave a presentation about China and the links that are being forged between that country and the UK. Meanwhile, the rest of the school and Home Farm were assembling in the Sports Hall, and they were then joined by Year 8 for an action-packed Chinese Lion-Dancing performance and then an amazingly gymnastic Kung-Fu performance, organised by Master ConGuo Lin who brought his team of performers.

After Morning Break, the Year 8 boys split into three groups. The first went to Mrs Inglis’ kitchen to be shown how to prepare, cook… …and then eat… Chinese Dumplings, under the instruction of a Chinese Chef, Mrs Cui. The second group were instructed in the art of Chinese Calligraphy and Fan Decoration by Mr Wei Min Cai, while the third group were shown how to make Chinese Lanterns of various styles by Mrs Guiquilin Shan.

These lanterns were then paraded to Years 5 to 8 in the McMullen Hall before a mesmerising performance of Chinese Face-Changing by Mr Hou-de-Zhang… …just how did he do it? It’s a closely guarded secret, but the boys had many theories. The final performance of the morning was by Miss Li Lin on the Guzheng. She had the boys entranced as she whisked them away with her playing of modern and traditional Chinese music.

The boys were then treated to a full Chinese Lunch, organised by Lara and her team in the Dining Room decorated most colourfully with Chinese flags, lanterns and bunting.

It was a packed morning with plenty of truly memorable moments and new experiences for the Elstree and Home Farm pupils, and so many thanks to Jing and Graeme Aarons of the ACEF and her team for such a wonderful occasion.