Swirling her red handkerchief above her head and into the air, Elliahn was learning the skilful motions of a traditional Chinese dance.
The student from Perth PS was among those from nine different schools who attended the Panda’s Picnic at the Chung Wah Association Chinese Cultural Centre in May.
Despite the State Governments push to increase the level of students studying Chinese in schools, last year only 35 students sat their year 12 exams for Chinese.
The majority of students studying Chinese are in primary school. However, each year students of all ages attend the Panda’s Picnic.
The Picnic began 11 years ago when the only three teachers in WA to teach Chinese in schools devised a day where students could come together, mingle and complete educational activities to enhance their language skills.
The teachers from Morley, Noranda and Lynwood PS, felt that it would provide the students with the opportunity to learn about the Chinese culture in a realistic setting.
The day enables students to come together to make new friends, practice the language and participate in a Chinese language and culture quiz.
Fun tabloid activities are held such as paper cutting, Chinese dance, Jiànzi making - a traditional form of Chinese hacky sack, having their names written in Chinese by Chinese calligraphers and school performances.
Over the years it has grown dramatically, with now 17 schools participating in this year’s event, with two Panda’s Picnic’s held in both the southern and northern regions of Perth.
From Chinese instrument performers to Tai Chi, each year Panda’s Picnic has something new to offer students.
Panda’s Picnic provides an entertaining and rich cultural environment for students to learn from one another, with many prizes to be won.
To find out how your school can participate next year contact Mount Lawley Senior High school.