Since the beginning of the school year the students have been engaged in an outer space project. As the children have questioned and driven this project, we found ourselves analyzing the lunar cycle – which in turn inspired a study of the difference between solar and lunar years.
Alongside the space project, we have embraced the cultures within our classrooms since our International Winter Festival. The children have been studying Chinese culture such as the Chinese New Year (also known as the “Lunar New Year”). This refers to the first day of a year whose months are coordinated with the cycles of the moon. So in this vein, we seized the opportunity to celebrate the Lunar New Year!
We had family members visit our class to share stories, materials and traditional food for the Chinese New Year. Because the children enjoyed learning about this culture so much, we decided to take this experience one step further!
Yesterday we took a field trip and tried Dim Sum, the traditional Chinese food (Cantonese-style) prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions which are traditionally served on small plates. In this way the children’s intellectual and gastronomical curiosity was rewarded.
One of our children’s grandmothers went to the field trip and explained the different types of food. Parents are an essential and integral component for Little Wonders. Teachers respect parents as each child’s first teacher and involve parents in every aspect of the curriculum including outside the classroom.
Having the child’s grandmother come with us to the field trip contributed to the collaboration of teacher and parent as learners. In this case the grandmother provided a unique and valuable perspective of Asian culture and the Lunar New Year in our community.
After the meal we walked through an Asian market in our community. We visit a grocery store weekly to buy our class cooking ingredients. This helps the children use a real life situation to practice math with money. We chose ingredients to make a ponzu sauce for dumplings. We purposely chose ponzu sauce, being that this recipe ties in with another current project – Citrus Fruit.
Here is the recipe we are using in class. We encourage our parents to carry this experience at home and make this with your children. It is the children’s favorite pairing with dumplings!
Click this link to view our ponzu sauce recipe: http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/sauces/ponzu-sauce-recipe/
The field trip was a great opportunity to learn and collaborate with parents in a local environmental setting while exploring Asian culture. We believe in providing our children with rich cultural experiences that embrace the cultures within our school.
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them and it will change you life.” -Amy Poehler
*Ponzu sauce recipe is from chateleine.com