Harbor Country Day School's Mandarin Program Celebrates Chinese Language & Culture


Harbor Country Day School’s Mandarin program has always emphasized the importance of learning about and understanding the Chinese culture in addition to the Mandarin language.

Print Email

Pictured are Harbor Country Day School students performing.

Photo by: Harbor Country Day School.

St. James, NY - February 24, 2017 - Harbor Country Day School’s Mandarin program has always emphasized the importance of learning about and understanding the Chinese culture in addition to the Mandarin language. This year, the school was presented with even greater opportunities to explore the Chinese culture, as Stony Brook University invited the youngsters to perform at two of its well-known Chinese New Year celebrations.

Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

On February 4, 20 students from Harbor Country Day performed for a full house at the Charles Wang Center during Stony Brook University’s renowned Confucius Institute’s 2017 Chinese New Year Celebration. Students from Harbor Country Day’s first and second grades sang songs during the ceremony, and fourth, sixth and seventh graders performed Chinese tongue twisters. Dozens of other performers from New York City, Flushing and other parts of Long Island participated in the Institute’s annual show.

The school has developed a close relationship with the Confucius Institute, which enables Harbor Country Day’s students to participate in cultural events at the university. This year marks the third year Harbor Country Day has participated in the show, and Mandarin teacher Hong Snyder is grateful for such unique opportunities.

“I believe it’s important for the children to have an intimate understanding of the culture of the language they are studying,” said Mrs. Snyder. “Otherwise, they are learning the language in a vacuum, which makes it very difficult for them to fully understand and absorb what they’ve learned. Here are Harbor, we try very hard to give them many different opportunities to experience the Chinese culture, from dance and music, to cuisine, to performances like those at the Confucius Institute.”

Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

Students performed again at Stony Brook University on February 16, this time at the Spring Festival Gala hosted by the Stony Brook Chinese Students and Scholars Association (SBCSSA).

The SBCSSA, which promotes cultural, intellectual and social activities for Chinese students and scholars and other members of the community, invited the Harbor Country Day students to return to perform their Chinese tongue twisters after having seen them at the Chinese New Year Celebration. Nine students from Harbor Country Day performed in front of several hundred students, scholars, professors and community members.

Photo by Harbor Country Day School.

“I am incredibly proud of Hong and our Mandarin students,” said John Cissel, Head of School at Harbor Country Day. “Hong has done so much to develop and expand our program in just three short years, so that we now have 124 students, in grades PK4 through eight, enrolled in Mandarin. In fact, it’s become an essential part of our curriculum and has even helped draw some families to Harbor. And our relationship with the Confucius Institute continues to grow, which is opening up even more opportunities for our students and families.”

Harbor Country Day also hosted a Chinese Lantern Festival on its campus on February 11, to mark the end of the Chinese New Year. The festival brought together nearly 100 community members to celebrate the occasion with traditional Chinese music, performances and food and drink.

About Harbor Country Day School
Founded in 1958 by conscientious parents, Harbor Country Day School is an independent, co-educational day school for children from preschool through 8 th grade situated in St. James’ Village of Head of the Harbor. The school employs a whole-child approach to education, wherein its rigorous curriculum is supported by a broad program in its academic, athletic, advisory, and visual and performing arts departments designed to develop all aspects of each child's talents and interests. Harbor Country Day School’s summer camp program, Camp Harbor, is among the leading summer camp programs on Long Island. The school’s mission to “cherish childhood, cultivate wonder, and inspire confident learners and leaders” underscores every child’s experience at Harbor Country Day School and ensures that all of its graduates are prepared to lead fulfilling lives filled with wonder, confidence, and many successes.

Harbor Country Day School is chartered by the New York State Board of Regents and is accredited by and a member of the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS). It is a non-sectarian, nonprofit organization under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees.  For more information, visit www.hcdsny.org.