The Chinese Spring Festival and Chinese New Year began on 10 February when we entered the Year of the Snake. In connection with this, the British Council created a ‘Snakes and Dragons’ education pack to help primary schools across the UK explore Chinese culture and language.
The Chinese New Year may have passed, but it’s not too late to introduce your young people to some of the differences and similarities between the lives, languages and cultures of people in China and the UK with the Snakes and Dragons pack.
Focusing on China and Chinese culture, these materials - prepared in connection with the IOE Confucius Institute for Schools - support young people’s education about the world around them to help them gain an understanding of other countries and cultures in preparation for life as global citizens.
Each education pack contains lesson plans, Chinese poems, assembly plans, posters and activities to introduce Chinese culture to the classroom, keep your young people engaged and look forward to next year when, according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar, we enter the Year of the Horse.
The British Council has been working with partner HSBC to promote the study of Chinese language and culture in the UK since 2000. February saw the 10th anniversary of the HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition, which rewards students who have made the effort to master Mandarin from scratch. Together, we also run annual Chinese summer schools for primary school pupils at two UK locations, and support Mandarin teaching through the Chinese Language Assistants programme – native speakers who have been coming to work in UK classrooms for the past 11 years.
Download your pack
Snakes and Dragons Education Pack in English (3.71MB)
Snakes and Dragons Education Pack in Welsh (4MB)
If you’re looking for some inspiration for your activity find out how 10 schools across the UK celebrated Chinese language and culture in the classroom in the run up to the Chinese New Year.
What educators are saying
“Interest in Chinese culture and language is spreading across schools in Northern Ireland. The Snakes & Dragons resource is excellent for teachers that are looking to organise activities promoting global citizenship. It’s bright, colourful, clear, easy to follow and has a fun element for the children.”
Maxine Judge, European Studies Programme Manager, Southern Education & Library Board, Armagh, Northern Ireland.
“It’s more important than ever to help all of our young people to better understand China and to develop as global citizens – and Chinese New Year gives schools everywhere the perfect opportunity. The Snakes and Dragons pack is a really useful resource for teachers and full of fun, creative ways to bring China into the classroom. I’d encourage every school to make use of it.”
Nathan Kemp, UK Teacher of the Year, Tollgate Primary School, east London
Jun Jie's film below accompanies some of the lesson plans in the pack and is part of series created by the Ragdoll Foundation.
You can see other films in the Ragdoll Foundation series and access the accompanying classrooms resources here.
'What makes me happy' video by Ragdoll Foundation
'Gaokao – the worlds hardest test' is part of a series by BBC World Class and the British Council. Others in the series and the accompanying classroom resources can be accessed here.