Calligraphy, Kung Fu and Mandarin are being offered to children as part of a new course of monthly workshops at Hove Library.

The course kicked off in January with a celebration of Chinese New Year, where children could make their own paper dragons representing this year’s zodiac sign.

The course is run by Education China, which has previously run children’s workshops in schools in the Brighton and Hove area.

Nancy Zeng, director and Chinese tutor at Education China said: “I think it’s important for children to have an awareness of any foreign culture, and since Chinese culture is so different from the British, children will gain more by learning it.

I was fascinated by Western culture when I was very young, and am now still fascinated, even after living in Britain for more than nine years.” With China’s expanding populations and markets, demand to learn Mandarin has increased in the last few years. For Nancy, however, this is not the main reason for teaching children about China.

Nancy said: “Our children are not all going to work in big international companies, however, to be able to combine the best of both the West and the East will benefit all their lives.”

The workshops use a variety of activities including storytelling, arts and crafts, using chopsticks, and writing to pen friends in China to engage children’s interest in Chinese culture and language.

Jane Howard who attended the launch workshop with her son said: “We enjoyed the event enormously. There was a wonderfully positive atmosphere, and we were thoroughly entertained by the variety of activities, and the warm and friendly young adults running the activities.”

The workshops aim not only to raise children’s interest in China, but also to help them form good study habits which they can apply at school.

As a teacher, Ms. Howard also appreciated the educational benefits of the classes, adding: “There was something for everyone - visual, auditory and kinaesthetic learners - which I think was the key to everyone being engaged, and enjoying themselves.”

The classes will continue on the 2nd Saturday morning of every month at Hove Library, with a different theme for every month. February’s session was focussed around Chinese paper handcrafts, whilst March’s, on the 10th, will be Chinese characters and calligraphy.

To book places at upcoming sessions or for further information, visit