As we neared Lunar New Year, the Whales and Peacock nursery classes began learning about the different traditions and the different types of food eaten during this holiday. One of the most known Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinese tradition is the lion dance. This vibrant dance, accompanied by rhythmic drumming and crashing cymbals, is performed by two skilled dancers dressed in a colorful and bold lion costume. When the teachers played a short video of professional lion dancers, the children were mesmerized. They were drawn to the bright colors and the cheeky movements of the lion.
In response to students’ interest in dance and movement, each class created their own lion costumes.It began with a recycled cardboard box that was covered in ripped color paper. The children then worked on cutting out the different parts of the lion’s face, such as its eyes and mouth. These facial features were then pasted onto the cardboard box. The students then decorated the body of the lion with gold paint and colorful triangles.
Once the body and head were completed, teachers attached the two and the children were able to practice performing the lion dance. One student would hold the head above his or her head while other students would hold the body above their heads and dance. The students controlling the lion head need to use his or her strong muscles to lift the head up and down and side to side. Other students would accompany the dance by singing a New Year's song and shaking and rattling their rattle drums they made.
After practicing, the students took turns to visit Spanish ELC classrooms to share the lion dance with them. This cross-cultural exchange of cultural traditions was fun for both the performers and audience. The Whale and Peacocks were really proud that they were able to share their language culture with their peers in the Spanish track.
- Early Learning Center
- Mandarin Chinese