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Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinese New Year!

As an early childhood educator there is a lot of emphasis put on teaching diversity and multiculturalism. 

This truly had me thinking that as educators if we are not always striving to expand our knowledge of different cultures and keep an open mind about different traditions how can we expect children to do the same. Therefore, with that in mind I decided to go to Chinatown in Boston this weekend to experience Dim Sum a traditional Chinese brunch. It was a wonderful experience and was made even better with the fact that Chinese New Year is going on now and there were many parades going on all throughout Chinatown. I really enjoyed learning more about such a rich culture and I could not wait to share all the information I learned with my class!

What is Dim Sum? According to Wikipedia!
Dim sum is usually linked with the older tradition from yum cha (tea tasting), which has its roots in travelers on the ancient silk road needing a place to rest. Thus teahouses were established along the roadside. Rural farmers, exhausted after working hard in the fields, would go to teahouses for a relaxing afternoon of tea.
The unique culinary art of dim sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China, who over the centuries transformed yum cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience. While dim sum (literally meaning: point of the heart) was originally not a main meal, only a snack, and therefore only meant to touch the heart, it is now a staple of Chinese dining culture, especially in Hong Kong.

Here are a few pictures from my day in Chinatown! 

This morning at circle time I shared with the children what I did over the weekend and showed them some of the pictures! They had a multitude of wonderful questions and I was so excited that they really wanted to know more! So I told the children that this week we were going to be learning more about China and other countries in Asia.

I showed the children an actual bamboo stalk (which is now in our science center) and had the children make observations. We discussed that many animals eat bamboo such as panda bears. The children were then encouraged to make a still life drawing of the plant. 

 The writing wall was updated!

We added all sorts of food and accessories into our dramatic play area. I even made some fortune cookies and tea bags out of felt for the children to use! 
 We also decided to make some flags from different countries in Asia. 

We made dragons from egg cartons and discussed the origins and meanings of the dragon!  

We made our own paper lanterns!

The children decided that they would like to try to write in Chinese. I provided some black paint and a paint brush for them to try their hand at it. 

On our last day of this theme we decided to have our own dragon dance parade around our school! All the children helped to make the head of the dragon and everyone added their hand print to the sheet for the body of the dragon! It was lots of fun! 
We followed our parade by using chopsticks at lunch! Not only is it fabulous for fine motor skills but it really helped the children to slow down a bit at lunch and really opened up some fabulous conversations. The children were even more delighted for our special treat after lunch, fortune cookies!!! 


  1. What a wonderful post! I've started hosting a cultural playdate for my son and his friends, so I'll be posting this so I won't forget to get some great ideas for next year's Chinese New Year. :) Thank you so much for linking at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #3.

  2. I love how you brought China into your classroom and I love Dim Sum! Your felt food is adorable! I'm going to pin this to try some of your ideas in our preschool homeschool. Thank you for linking up to the Creative Kids Culture Blog hop!

  3. Thank you both! I look forward to your newest cultural posts! : )