Stories are a large part of the curriculum and language teaching in nursery. In the Chinese immersion classroom, teachers use stories to reinforce language learning. Sometimes we use familiar stories to help teach language and allow children to make connections between English and Chinese. In our classroom, Lan Se, the Whales and Peacocks recently read “The Three Little Pigs.” Eventually this story became the new theme of our dramatic play area!
Some of the children were already familiar with “The Three Little Pigs.” The teachers helped those who didn’t know the story make sense of it while also making connections between English and Chinese. After the reading, teachers created a song version of the story following the tune of “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf.” As the children became increasingly familiar with the story, we decided to transform our dramatic play area into one of the three little pigs’ houses.
This process began when teachers asked children how we could transform our dramatic play area. The students decided it was best to recreate the little brother’s brick house, as it is the sturdiest and safest of all the pigs’ houses. Children discussed how they needed to make bricks, a roof, a bed, water and food, a table and tablecloth, a window and a door to the house. The students had to use their problem-solving skills to find or make these items. Teachers brought small groups of children to the found-materials closet to look for suitable things and spark children’s ideas on how to create different items. Then they proudly returned to the classroom with what they’d found to work on their transformation project.
The children also discussed how they could make masks to pretend that they were the different pigs and the wolf. During this activity, the children practiced their representational drawing skills and worked on their fine-motor abilities. The students looked at pictures of the different characters in the book and drew their own versions. Once the children finished their masks, they placed them in the dramatic play area for everyone to use and reenact the story of the three little pigs.
This was a great way to help children expand their interests in dramatic play. Many children who typically had no interest in drawing or art were drawn to make props for the dramatic play area. Some children excitedly glued and layered torn and cut paper onto poster paper to create a blazing fire. Another child created multiple flowers and proudly showed her flowers to her friends and said, “smell my flowers!” This experience really helped children to expand their already strong interests in dramatic play into the art area while providing them with problem-solving opportunities as they were engineering different parts of the house.
- Early Learning Center
- Mandarin Chinese