A Bullish Return to School as the Year of the Ox Approaches

YCIS BJ Sinead Earl

We welcomed our students and teachers back on campus on Tuesday January 5 after a much-needed winter break. Also arriving were some of the 35 new students joining us from various countries and the last batch of teachers coming in from abroad.

Orientation Day Gifts and Surprises
A day prior, new students and parents visited our campus for a brief orientation during which they received welcome packages in preparation for their first day of school.

As if on a carousel, students circled around from one booth to the next to pick up information about school uniforms, bus schedules, the canteen, the University Guidance Office and the alumni network. At the final stop, a surprise was in store. The students were greeted by teachers who introduced themselves and told them a little more about what to expect on their first day at school.

We spoke to the learning coordinators from early childhood education through to secondary about how the week progressed in their respective departments. Here are their takes.

Sound Learning and Sound Effects


YCIS BJ First Week

Sinead Earl, ECE Coordinator

How was the first week of school at ECE?
The children have had a wonderful first week back and it has been super to see them all. We have welcomed 13 new children to our ECE and we are looking forward to them developing their interests and growing in confidence in our ECE. The children who have been here previously were very excited to welcome their new friends.

What activities were planned for the week?
We have been very proud of all of our ECE children (returning and new) as they have settled into daily school life so quickly. Teachers took time to make some changes to their classrooms over the holidays and this resulted in lots of excitement as children explored new environments.

What can students and their families look forward to during the rest of the term?
We look forward to a spectacular Chinese New Year performance. The children and staff are looking forward to the warmer weather and being able to enjoy time in the ECE outdoor learning environment where they will be able to explore the great outdoors and develop new interests.

Later in the semester we hope to be able to fully open both of our ECE learning communities so that the children are able to engage in play with children from other classes.


YCIS BJ Primary Student

Jane Martuneac Kang, Primary Coordinator and April Peng, Primary Vice Principal

How was the first week of primary school?
All students and teachers were so happy to see each other again. There was lots of chatter about everyone’s Christmas holidays. Spaces are decorated now for Chinese New Year and this added another layer of excitement in our learning communities.

What activities were planned for the week, especially for the new students?
Jane: Students had already jumped back into their learning with a refreshed energy. Many groups started their final projects to wrap up a unit of study or just begin new units. In addition, all homeroom groups continue to excitedly practice for their performances in the upcoming “Beautiful China” concert to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Walking around the school we see students hard at work on their rehearsals, in their studies, and in renewing their relationships or building new friendships with newcomers.

We have been particularly amazed to see a group of Year 5 students work together to start a club in their free time to teach other students about sustainability issues. Their passion for caring for our earth and its inhabitants is truly impressive.


YCIS BJ Secondary Student

April: The Chinese New Year is drawing near with 2021 the “Year of the Ox” in the Chinese zodiac. The ox represents diligence and strength in Chinese culture. To welcome the New Year and create the right atmosphere we have an activity called, “A Bullish Year in YCIS”. It underscores that YCIS Beijing is full of vigour and vitality this New Year. Each learning communities has been presented a cardboard ox to decorate. Students can give full play to their creativity and imagination in their Year of the Ox decorative theme to reflect on the special characteristics of their community.

What can students and families look forward to in this new semester?
Jane: In this second semester there are many exciting units of study planned, such as Year 4’s unit on how sound is both created and heard. This unit will see students using hands-on means to explore this concept, including studying and imitating the work of Foley artists (the specialists who add sound effects to films). We look forward to seeing our students take ownership of their learning and work to achieve their best every day.

April: We have provided non-native Chinese students with a new online reading platform that will help them go through Chinese stories more independently. In addition, various workshops on Chinese culture are also being held during the new academic year.

Hayley Edge, Secondary Coordinator

How was the first week in secondary school?
The first week of school has been great. While it is super cold outside, we are back into the swing of things with warm and welcoming learning communities. New students have received a friendly welcome and settled in quickly and have been “buddied” up with a classmate and had introduction activities in their homerooms.

What activities were planned for the week?
Y13s were busy with exam week, so it got serious pretty quickly for this cohort this semester. They handled the pressure well and it is clear that they used their Christmas break to study.

What can students and their families look forward to in this new semester?
With Chinese New Year around the corner, we have started decorating our homerooms for the annual decoration contest. We also have a full festival that student leaders have started promoting.

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