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The China Connection will lead you to take a look at how China's growth as a world power has already affected Missourians, and what we should expect for the future. It focuses on Missouri-China links in three areas: economy, education and culture.The China Connection is a production of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and KBIA. This multimedia reporting project is produced by reporters Chenfei Zhang, Eva Dou and Rachel Rice.

Chinese language in North Callaway classrooms

Students at North Callaway School District write Chinese characters by using a traditional brush pen. April 25, 2012.
Maoling Xiong
Students at North Callaway School District write Chinese characters by using a traditional brush pen. April 25, 2012.

MU’s branch of the Confucius Institute has signed a one-year deal with the North Callaway School district in Kingdom city, Missouri to introduce Kindergarten through 8th grade students to Chinese culture and language.

Chinese inks and brushes, paper-cuttings, seven pieces puzzles, these are traditional Chinese arts and games that students in North Callaway school district got to experience at the recent launching of the Confucius Institute’s program at the Auxvasse Elementary school. After School Program Director Brian Jobe says exposure to Chinese culture means a lot to the kids in the district.

“Within our current global society I often feel that a lot of rural students don’t have access as some of our suburban and urban counterparts do.  This program is doing a great job, they actually brought a delegation of individuals from China that came and talked about their culture,” Jobe said.

Jobe says this one-year program will benefit students from kindergarten to 8th grade, and they will build curriculums about Chinese culture and language in the After School Program. Wen Ouyang is the co-director of the Confucius Institute branch at MU, says that this program’s impact will go beyond classrooms.

“Those children will bring some feedback from the class after school program, and exchange or share with their parents, and probably will give another impact on their parents’ thinking about Chinese culture and Chinese people. So it’s kind of like a very positive connections to the whole community,” Ouyang said.

Ouyang says she hopes the cultural program will engage students and cultivate their interest in the language, and the plan is to introduce more language courses in the future.

This story is part of The China Connection, a multimedia project that explores various economic, educational and cultural links between Missouri and China.  More at The China Connection.

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