Happy Chinese New Year!

It was actually Friday, but I’m just now getting around to my post.

I want to start off by saying something.  Which will probably turn into a couple somethings. We moved Maria from the Catholic school that she was at for 5 years (play, pre, K, 1, 2nd grades) to Children’s House Montessori School this year.  I can say with 100% certainty that it was the best decision I’ve ever made for her.

Did I hate the Catholic school?  Absolutely not.  I went there for 8 years myself!  I have friends who are teachers there and the staff is lovely.  But sometimes there is something in your heart that tells you that you need a change.  I watched Maria struggle with some parts of school.  She came home with worksheet after worksheet every single day.  Sometimes, they were spilling out of her bag — 5 or 6 different worksheets she had done that day.  Math problems were done only on paper and creative writing was limited to morning journal.  They got a great view of Catholicism (which I loved) but very few in-depth lessons on other religions, cultures and celebrations.  They definitely tried, that’s not the issue — but I knew I wanted my kids to get just a little bit more.  And I don’t think this is something that only our old school is lacking.  I think that most classrooms are like this (I mean, minus the Catholic part unless it’s a Catholic school, duh).  I think what people see as a ‘normal’ school and classroom is exactly what Maria was getting, and they did an excellent job at it.  And for some kids and families, that is great and exactly what they need and what they’re looking for. But for us…we needed a change.

Children’s House gave us that, plus so much more.

Math isn’t limited to paper and pencil and Jamie spends a lot of his day creating books. They touch their letters with their hands and it’s not out of the norm to see them doing 10 different things around the classroom, all very quietly and deliberately. Their lesson on Hanukkah involves a menorah and someone of the Jewish faith explaining and describing their traditions.  They play with a dreidel and learn the hows and whys of it.  On Dec. 5th (is it the 5th?!) St. Nicholas comes and leaves the children treats in their shoes.  They celebrate each child’s birth with more than just cupcakes and cookies.  They spend an entire lesson learning about their life.  And on Friday, they celebrated the Chinese New Year amazingly.

chinese new year-1 Miss Yuiqui (oh, I probably butchered that spelling) is from China and helped with the preparation.

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(pot stickers!)

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Then a parent’s friend (Audrey) came and shared a little bit about her family’s New Year celebrations.  And she brought candy, too.

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How are we so lucky?  I will tell you.  This information the kids got didn’t just come right off of the internet.  They learned about Chinese New Year from listening to someone’s personal experiences.  They heard the emotion in their stories and that makes it so much more interesting.  And real.  And not just something that happens on the other side of the world.

Before the celebration, I went into Mr. Matt’s classroom and they were just finishing up their chores.

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And then they all gathered up their dragons they made…

chinese new year-15 …and lined up for the parade.

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I will say this over and over again because it’s something I notice and something I appreciate.  Even if things take a lot of planning and a lot of prep, they are still done at CHMS.  Even if it’s a lot of work and it will be a big commotion and planning it and prepping it takes twice as long as the activity itself…it’s still done. And it’s all done because it’s something the kids love. They remember it and they love it and it’s the thing they spend weeks talking about. It’s worth it.

And the little kids (the primary class) came out after the older kids (lower elementary) so that they had a little guidance.  And together, they paraded around the room. A-Dor-A-ble.

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They were all so proud. And they didn’t have a crowd to show off for or to impress. They all did it for themselves and it was the sweetest. And finally, they sat down at their spots.

They got a lesson in how to pour tea…

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…and a quick note about their food.  They were told that they absolutely didn’t have to eat everything and that it’s okay to not like a food and not eat it.  But they were expected to at least try everything, even if that just meant licking it so their taste buds knew what it was like.

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And I’m about 80% sure that little talk was intended for this kid:

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You guys.  If he were to invent a holiday, it would be Chicken Nugget Appreciation Day with a side of Eggo waffles.  You’d celebrate by drinking milk, eating bacon, chicken nuggets and waffles and wouldn’t even touch any other foods.

But I was proud of him because he was very polite.

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And watching them all try and eat with their chopsticks might have been my favorite part.

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{this girl ditched all utensils and went straight for the finger food}

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Hmm.  Anna must have some tutoring at home on the subject.chinese new year-69

We are so thankful for these celebrations.

Happy Chinese New Year!


2 thoughts on “Happy Chinese New Year!

  1. Desirae

    I totally wasn’t a Montessori kid (sad face!), but in my little public school I remember Chinese New Year in second grade. We each decorated paper bag costumes and our teachers decorated boxes to represent the dragon head and tail, and we paraded around school. We made fried rice, and talked about China and tradition. It was great.

    When I look back, it’s those things that stand out about my education and that I learned from….not worksheets or books. Love these posts, Ruthie! Also love seeing so many kiddos I know at CHMS!!

  2. Soo Lee

    Great pics! I was sad I couldn’t make it so Mason informed me that you took pictures and I should check them out. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


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