BANGOR — With the 2008 Summer Olympics under way, the world’s eyes are on China.

Dozens of children from the Bangor area, however, had the opportunity to experience the Chinese language and culture first-hand, thanks to this year’s edition of Chinese Dragon Camp sponsored by the Bangor Chinese School.

During the program’s closing ceremony Friday, 10 of the more than 60 youngsters who participated in the camp over the summer got to show off what they learned about China, its people, its geography and history, its cuisine and its customs, as well as its music and art forms.

“The Chinese language right now is so important,” said instructor Jing Zhang, who founded the Bangor Chinese School in 2005 with her husband, Suzhong Tiam.

Not only is Chinese the language of nearly a quarter of the world’s population, China is an emerging economic superpower.

The children who took part in the program this summer, however, likely weren’t thinking about that as they made Chinese dumplings, sang Chinese songs, went on field trips to a farm and Chinese restaurant, did tai chi, ate with chopsticks, counted in Chinese and learned the Chinese words for everyday things such as fruits and vegetables, animals, colors and body parts.

“This is an immersion model,” Zhang said just before the closing ceremony got under way in the children’s reading room at the Bangor Public Library.

The theme for this year’s summer camp was “Love is our common language,” Zhang said.

Zhang said the school has received a great deal of support from area communities, parents of students and businesses, including Wal-Mart, which provided a $1,000 contribution.

The donation from Wal-Mart, she said, was used to provide a summer camp scholarship for a youngster living in foster care and to buy a projector for use in lessons.

For information about Bangor Chinese School, contact Jing Zhang at 990-0710.