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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Xin Nian Kuai le/ Gung Hei Fat Choi/ Happy New Year

As you walk into our classroom right now, you walk through a doorway adorned with red banners wishing you Good Luck and Happy New Year!  Chinese New Year is upon us and I feel fortunate as I go to work each day that I pass through these doors of good fortune and joy in the year ahead. 
 Xin                 Nian           Kuai               Le
New                Year                  Happy

                      Da Ji Da Li                         Fu                                Gong (gung) Xi(hei)    Fa(Fat) Cai (Choi)
                  Big Luck, Big Luck     Happiness & Prosperity                Congratulations              Get Rich

These banners were a gift to the school from one of our parents.  She speaks Mandarin and lived in China for many years, and each year at Chinese New Year we are fortunate to have her come to the school and teach us about the holiday, sing songs and  dances, and share her experiences.

The children were fascinated with the Chinese characters, and were expressing that they looked like pictures to them.  Steffa shared that when she was learning the language and how to read the characters, many times she remembered them by what they looked like to her.  For instance, the character up above on the top of the banner means "big,"  she told a story about her father visiting her in China and that he could only remembered this character because to him it looked like a person standing big.  Steffa then showed the children what that meant and they also gave it a try as you see below.

Below is a video of the children learning a song about two Tigers, one with no ear and one with no tail. 
On our facebook page, Art and Soul Preschool , you can see the children singing another song in Mandarin about two kitty cats jumping on a bridge.

Steffa also brought in items to show the children, such as a Chinese Knot that is made from one long piece of rope symbolizing an unending life. as well as some clothes that were sent to her from friends in China when her daughter was born.

During free play a group of children were fascinated with the blocks Steffa brought in.  
As they played with them, Steffa was teaching them what the characters symbolized. 

 Trying to find the right character for fish
Looking at the blocks they wrote the characters out themselves.

Making paper dumplings that they filled with "veggies" and "meat", and then attempted to pick up with chop sticks.

Now the real test, eating snack with chopsticks!

 Luckily Steffa taught us a trick where we place a piece of paper between the sticks and rubber band above and below the paper so that they were easy to pinch together.  What a great way to work on hand motor skills and a lot of fun for the children.  As I mentioned above, it was a real treat having a parent share with us her experiences and join us on these two days, and a very fortunate way to welcome int he New Year!

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