Kindergartners at Independence Primary School celebrated the Chinese/Lunar New Year this past week in their homerooms and specials classes as a way to help students and staff understand and embrace other cultures.
Every class started their days a bit differently in homeroom with activities that included learning about zodiac animals, watching videos, listening to guest speakers, viewing slideshows, creating crafts, and even getting chopstick lessons using marshmallows. But this was just the start of the fun activities lined up for them throughout the day. In P.E., the kindergartens played Catch the Dragon’s Tail, a traditional Chinese game in which the children form a line with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them and then the first student—the dragon head—tries to catch the last student—the dragon tail.
During their art class, the students made dragons for the upcoming parade. In China, dragons represent good health, luck, and strength. Later, students learned how to utilize the green screen in design class by putting up a Year of the Rabbit background. The rabbit is the fourth animal in the twelve-year Chinese zodiac calendar and is a symbol of longevity, positivity, and cleverness.
When the kindergartners headed to the library, Chinese/Lunar New Year read-alouds were shared and discussed with classes. In music, the children were engaged in a plethora of activities, including vocal explorations with the zodiac animals, songs, lion dance videos with instrument discussions, ribbon dances, and listening glyphs. The culminating event of the cultural day was a parade around the school.
The goal of these experiences is to teach students about individuality and cultural differences. Independence Primary School’s “Difference Makers” committee, made up of parents and staff members, came up with the idea with the hope that students will learn to treat others with respect, acceptance, and celebration. The kindergarten classes celebrating the Chinese/Lunar New Year is just one example of what students have been up to. Other grade levels have participated in an immigration experience, learned about African folktales, and done service to others by visiting the Cleveland Hunger Network and Front Steps this past November.