Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year was always a great event in my classroom and was loved by children and staff alike as there was something for all – a visit to Wing Yip to buy food, which was later cooked for our Chinese banquet, dancing, making costumes, re-enacting stories and playing in the Chinese restaurant role play. Children fully emersed themselves in the experience which provided for great observations of independent learning.
The children created their own dragon and lion costumes from boxes and lengths of material (see above) and, after watching examples on Youtube, danced individually and in groups outside for considerable periods of time. This particularly appealed to the boys and encouraged them to work together as a team and negotiate between themselves who was to wear the dragon or lion’s head. We also used the heads as props when acting out the Chinese New Year story and Nian the Dragon, outside.
Nian the dragon is a particular favourite of mine as it involves lots of movement, which is great during cold weather, costumes, which the children created themselves, musical instruments and lots and lots of noise – something you cant do inside!
There are many benefits to re-telling stories outside. The creation of a physical story map utilises some of the most effective modes of learning for young children – movement, play and talk. Re-telling a story in which the children can move from one area to another, provides for greater engagement and enables children to better remember the sequence of events. Take photos to document the process and create a storybook complete with children’s voice and written work. Try this before asking them to draw a story map on paper and see the difference for yourselves!