Old academy in Yangquan ushers in new era of vitality
Kids check out books in the Yixi Academy. It's been renovated from a century old academy of classical learning. [Photo/Yellow River News]
A more than 100 year-old academy for classical learning that is set in the city of Yangquan – located in North China's Shanxi province – has recently ushered in a new era of vitality.
The academy, which is called Yixuetang, is situated in Dayangquan village. It was originally a private school in the compound courtyard style of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), boasting a history of more than 140 years.
Between March to July in 2021, the old school was renovated and when the work was complete it re-emerged as a new-style academy called the Yixi Academy.
Every book in the new academy has been carefully selected by its founder, Yan Wei. These include volumes of classical literature, science fictions, prose and poetry collections for readers of all ages.
Moreover, sinology – the study of Chinese language, history, customs and politics – is core to the curriculum.
"It is difficult for children today to come into contact with traditional Chinese culture. Sinology is the place of history and culture and the foundation of our nation," Yan said when talking about his reasons to establish the academy.
Children dressed in traditional costume read books in the Yixi Academy in Yangquan. [Photo/Yellow River News]
"In the academy, we want children to grow and progress in the process of learning sinology. Learning sinology is a process of cultural edification, a process of shaping children's temperaments, and it involves the cultivation and inheritance of traditional culture."
The Yixi Academy holds various folk activities – including intangible cultural heritage learning activities and classical reading events – during each traditional Chinese festival.
This is to enable children to learn about intangible cultural heritage, read classical books and experience traditional handicrafts.
Yan expressed the hope that the children would pass on and promote traditional Chinese culture better through learning at the academy.