At Milton Hall Montessori School we did lots of activities and learning about how Chinese people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year.
We learned that Chinese New Year is an important festival in the Chinese calendar, sometimes called Spring Festival and that this year is the year of the Rat.
It is very important for our young children to learn and understand the different ways in which other people and other cultures celebrate. Learning such as this raises the children's awareness and acceptance of what, how and why other people celebrate. It puts our own cultural identity and celebrations into context and increases the children's knowledge about other cultures.
We looked at some of the characters used in Chinese writing and had a go at copying some of them on the mark-making table. The characters of written Chinese are very beautiful but quite difficult to copy!
We looked at the traditional clothes worn in China and listened to some Chinese music. In our home corner, we pretended to use chopsticks and eat from special Chinese bowls. We even tried some real Chinese food noodles and Spring rolls at the snack table. We also learned how to say Happy New Year in the Chinese language of Mandarin, 'Kung Hei fat choy.'
Sutindar Lal read a story of how the traditions began. She explained the week before the holiday, families clean their homes to sweep away all traces of misfortune. Shops and homes are decorated with lanterns, flowers and bright banners.
The colour red and fireworks are used to frighten away bad evil spirits and to gain the attention of the good spirits.
The children learnt about the lucky red envelopes that they receive and a celebratory dance that they can do called the Dragon Dance.
The children in Milton Hall Montessori been having fun all week to mark the year of the 'Rat’' by making decorated cards, dressing up in Chinese costumes and using chopsticks, eating oriental delicacies.
‘Wow,’ the children looked fantastic having a fun learning experience.