We began February with our picture book, Humpty Dumpty by Jonas Sickler which was set in ancient China. We integrated this story with Chinese New Year traditions such as getting a haircut, venerating our ancestors and sharing the gift of prosperity for the new year. We created a new child volunteer job at circle time called the “Moon Watcher” who reports on the phase of the moon for the day to make the connection of following the lunar calendar.
We invited business owners in to our classroom for in-school field trip opportunities. Laurie Saiz Parks, whose family has owned and operated Silver and Gold Barber Shop for 60 years came in with her tools and to demonstrate hair cutting by cutting Michael’s hair in front of the children. Children surprised Laurie by making the sign for her school hair-cutting station, out of silver and gold collage paper. Parent videographer, Barbara McFerrin, lent her talents to capture the exercise on camera.
We revered our ancestors by offering an electric candle and a fresh flower and thanking them and we participated in a space clearing with Beth Kuper, a local Feng Shui consultant.
Beth taught us how to clap from floor to ceiling to clear stagnant energy in all the corners and use shakers and harmony bells to call out positive affirmations such as friendship, love, joy, peace and harmony.
In Chinese tradition, we gave lucky money (play money) with a message of good luck and an orange to represent prosperity to share our friendship in recognition of Valentines Day.
All of Humpty Dumpty’s people and horses ushered in castle play. We learned what people feast on around the world and located their countries on the globe. We dressed as knights, prince/sses, queens, kings, bakers and we became candlestick makers decorating our candles with bees wax designs.
As February, comes to a close, we are highlighting the book King Bidgood’s In the Bathtub by Audrey and Don Woods. Children decorated Mardi Gras mask and joined in on the meandering Masquerade Parade through the neighborhood on Monday and to Safeway on Tuesday. They wore their masks and necklaces, played their musical instruments and called out, “Happy Mardi Gras” in good cheer.
Teachers dramatized the King Bidgood story for the morning children and children chose their roles of king, knight, queen, page, duke or audience member and joined in on the performance in the afternoon.
Tibetan New Year known as Losar is a three day celebration beginning February 27th. Our classmate wore her Chupa – the traditional Tibetan dress and Ta-shup – tassels in her braid and her necklace from the Dalai Lama. She drew pictures of how she sings and dances and eats with her Tibetan community and shared her home culture with all of us.