YOUNGSTERS at a Sunderland school welcomed some special visitors from China.
Three years ago Grangetown Primary School set up a partnership with Shuiguohu Primary School, in Wuhan, central China, and links have gone from strength to strength.
Learning about China, meeting Chinese teachers, and getting to know children their own age from our partner school really broadens the horizons of our children, extending their cultural understanding and showing them that children the world over are basically the same.Les McAnaney
Teachers from both schools have carried out visits, thanks to funding from the British Council, and the children have got to know each other through Skype and email.
Pupils have also taken part in a range of exciting and creative projects, focusing on dance, drama and storytelling.
Through the latest exchange, two Shuiguohu teachers, Wenyan Pan and Cheng Fang, recently spent a week at Grangetown, learning about education in the UK and teaching the children about China, including lessons in Chinese calligraphy.
Les McAnaney, headteacher at the Spelterworks Road school, says there are lots of advantages in developing international partnerships.
He said: “Learning about China, meeting Chinese teachers, and getting to know children their own age from our partner school really broadens the horizons of our children, extending their cultural understanding and showing them that children the world over are basically the same.
“Also the project itself, with dance, art, music and a big trip out, was great fun.”
The latest project, Extreme Earth, focused on ecological issues, with both schools imagining a future in which pollution could cause overwhelming damage, and looking at ways that they could actively take care of the environment.
Grangetown worked with Big Foot Arts on the project and also enjoyed a day of workshops at Hamsterley Forest.
The children wrote blogs to share with China and set themselves up as The Green Team to save the planet.
Miya Baxman-Martinex, 10, said: “It was great when the Chinese teachers visited our school. They helped The Green Team to save planet Earth from total devastation due to climate change.”
The Grangetown Year 4 children have now written postcards to their Chinese friends, and are looking forward to meeting them in a Skype video-conference.