Year of the Dog
Meet our dog above...can you see its head, body, tail and legs?
A Very Happy Chinese New Year/Spring Festival to all of you especially the Lu Family. The children just heard me say ‘celebrate’ and they burst in a cheer. Our avid, spirited crew is ever ready to learn and celebrate. There are many little traditions and it was fun to try and enliven some of them in our classroom. Today we:
1. Talked about ‘red’ being an auspicious color in Chinese culture and to think of it most of the Asian continent. We made red lantern charms. Even our toddlers could be heard saying red. Lanterns are a very typical symbol and decoration.
2. We painted spring blossoms which signify rebirth. We can all relate to this given we have a cherry blossom tree in the school house yard. We talk everyday about the onset of spring signified by the pink blossoms and now the new red leaves we can see on our tree. The children related so well to this activity.
3. Each child got a ‘Red Envelope’ with ‘play’ money. Traditionally, significant married people in the family share these signifying prosperity and good luck. Do share real equivalents of the denominations with the children. All preschoolers identified the numbers and some the exact denominations. Money is something all kids relate to :)
4. As with any festival, food is a key part of the celebration. We celebrated with some traditional eats like spring rolls signifying gold/prosperity, steamed carrot coins again signifying prosperity, dumplings which traditionally used to be shaped like old chinese money, fried rice which to me again is nourishment, longevity and prosperity. Finally, we made rice balls stuffed with Nutella. Sam, thank you for the traditional sweet rice balls food suggestion. The children enjoyed it especially digging and licking the Nutella. Will have to try it another time with the traditional sweet bean paste suggested. We ate orange fruit for good luck and prosperity.
5. We talked about the Chinese zodiac calendar, the animals featured on it, the story behind the calendar. We will certainly re-read the story and another one about the Chinese New Year too. The Zodiac story was enjoyed. I am already thinking of an activity based on the story.
6. We talked about cleaning our homes and classroom as part of spring. This is traditionally done prior to the Chinese New Year. Do have the children ‘spring’ clean their rooms/homes. We will do this in our classroom this week.
We will talk more about this celebration and region in the course of the week so children get time to digest and reinforce. I hope they can continue to relate to their projects and talk. Keep it alive at home as I am sure many can relate to the traditions and variations in their culture.
Some links I found useful among many.
Zodiac Story: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/Chinese-zodiac/story.htm