We're coming into the year of the Snake on the 10th February and this week we've had a blast at Free Rangers getting into the spirit. The week started with us telling the story about the creation of the calendar: the race between the 12 animals and how the rat climbed atop the ox's head before hopping off right at the end to win the race! In celebration of this year's animal we put together a giant snake, painted in bright green and pink with foil stuck over it, the children decided that it would look more snake-like if it was wiggly and helped to cut out the shape before it was put up in the Den for everyone to see. The week was capped with a real lion dance, the path was mapped out beforehand, the lettuce for the lion was carried by a (willing) volunteer and then the lion was released amongst the noise of drums and shakers! We're certainly looking forward to a year of good luck at the nursery!
This celebration was made all the more enjoyable by one boy, T, whose family is partly Chinese. During one session he started talking to an adult about how he and his dad have "Chinese hair" but not his mum; he demonstrated his knowledge clearly not only of what made him 'him' but, because he also has a strong friendship group, he showed that he has a positive view of himself as an individual. Working in a primarily white setting leads me (the equailty officer) to the question of how diversity and different cultures are expressed in a meaningful and un-tokenistic way in order to provide positive learning experiences for all our children. Our children's interest, recognition and pride in their own individuality and that of others is key to unlocking this question and our Chinese New Year was a perfect chance to work with such a vital and delicate subject.
In discussion with T's Mum, she told us how as a family they went to watch the celebrations at the M shed in Bristol each year and expanded on what we already knew about T, that he recognised Chinese writing when he saw it and that when the family went to China town in London he was amazed at how many people looked just like him! To help us with our learning, she asked him to choose a selection of his favourite decorations and items from his home to bring in and share with us and provided us with some red pockets to hand out as well.
I felt so pleased with the way the children all got into the spirit of the event and though there were some worried looks at the lion when he came to life, all the children who were concerned took themselves to a safe distance... though where they could still watch!
Good luck and best wishes to all and and may you have a prosperous and joyous new year,