Fall heritage program at KECLA offers cultural classes

September 2, 2014
Students participate in a drum class at the KECLA on Aug. 30 for its fall heritage program. (Kim Young-jae/The Korea Times)

Students participate in a drum class at the KECLA on Aug. 30 for its fall heritage program. (Kim Young-jae/The Korea Times)

The Korean Education Center in Los Angeles’ 13-week fall heritage program kicked off to a busy start Saturday.

Attended by 318 students, the program is offered to Korean American youths enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“The KECLA is affiliated with Korea’s Ministry of Education and offers a free-tuition opportunity for overseas Koreans to experience the traditional culture of Korea,” said Park Jin-hyang, a program coordinator.

She said the center hopes to see about 450 students participate in the program this year. Currently, 318 students have completed registration.

Among the Saturday classes offered are traditional Korean dance, Taekwondo, paper folding, baduk, Korean folk songs and the science of Korean history, as well as music classes that teach traditional instruments like samulnori, haegeum and gayageum, KECLA said.

“I registered my daughter, who was born in America, to the heritage program for the first time to let her experience a diverse set of Korean culture,” said Elisa Park, 36. She signed her daughter up for traditional Korean dance classes.

Another parent, 39-year-old Jenny Oh, agreed.

“My children grow up in an area without many Koreans, so I registered them for the program because it’s difficult for them to see Korean culture,” Oh said.

KECLA said it is still accepting participants although the registration period has ended.

Each class has a registration fee of $30, with Taekwondo and traditional dance classes costing an extra $10 for the uniform and shoes.

The program will run through Nov. 22.

For more information, visit kecla.org.

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