This week at Kindergarten we have been discussing, researching and celebrating the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the New Year (this year Monday 23rd January) and ends on the full moon 15 days later.
As we discovered 2012 is the year of the Dragon by the Chinese calendar, so we have had a lot of Dragon activity. As a group we have been watching clips of the Chinese festivities, in particular different dragon dances. Some children even decided to set themselves the goal of making their own dragon puppets resulting in our own small dragon dance.
This small video clip stars two of our creative dragon puppet designers.
As this week has gone on we have looked at many of the Chinese symbols represented in art, introduced ourselves to Chinese words and have begun to get an understanding of the traditional customs at New Year. One custom is of giving 'ang pow' (Chinese red packets) filled with money to children and young people as gifts. These packets are beautifully decorated with writing or illustrations symbolising blessings, good wishes, prosperity and good health. They have another purpose however, and that is for crafts! We decided to have ago ourselves and make some Chinese lanterns.
Striving for accuracy
We began by printing off the instructions and then carefully trying to follow them. There was a fair bit of trial and error at first which required us to think through our problems (how come ours looked so different!) but the children put their heads together and discovered where we had gone wrong (it was our folding of the ang pow!). What great work, although this required a little help from a teacher the children did the stapling, helped fold the packets and were fantastic at remaining focused, waiting their turn and collaborating with their friends? Don’t they look great?
Finally as the week drew to an end we celebrated Chinese New Year with a shared kai, and those of us that have Chinese clothes or costumes had a chance to wear them. We had all sorts of delicious cultural specialties from our wonderful families – this really helped to make it so special.
Thank you once again to Brendon’s family for your contributions, advice and tips on the Chinese culture and New Year celebrations.