Happy Chinese Rat Year to one and all!
Circle time and the classroom this week has been all about Chinese New Year. We have read the story of the 12 animals lining up to race across the river. The winner – the rat – had the 1st year named after it (even though he jumped on the Ox’s behind, ran up his back and jumped onto the river from the Ox’s head. Cheating?! Or genius?!).
We decorated the classroom with seven lanterns (a coincidently lucky number in China), we made our own lanterns and masks, and looked at and talked about pictures of Chinese New Year Celebrations. We agreed that wherever you are and whoever you are, everyone can join in the fun of celebrating Chinese New Year.
One girl had brought in a Barbie from home. She was carrying her around in a carrier and I asked if Barbie was going to celebrate Chinese New Year. The girl replied she wasn’t sure if Barbie likes to celebrate the Chinese New Year. ‘Well how old is Barbie? Has she been to any other new year celebrations?’ I asked. The answer was surprising; ‘Barbie is 110.’ Wow! Barbie is doing really well for 110. She must have been to plenty of celebrations. Then the girl told me ‘Barbie is young.’ At this point I scrunched up my face. 'How can she be young at 110? Are the life spans of Barbies incredibly long?!' The girl explained and put me out of my quandary. She is young because I have to look after her and dress her and wipe her bottom.’ The penny dropped. Barbie – although looking remarkably good for her age – was actually in receipt of social care. This is how delightfully and brilliantly a conversation can veer off on a tangent – but we came back full circle. ‘So really then Barbie must have had a lot of birthday parties.’ ‘Yes I think she was born in the year of the pig.’ ‘It was the year of the pig last year! I’ll bet she must have celebrated Chinese New Year at some point.’ The girl nodded ‘Yes I think so too.’