Focusing on Language and Culture

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Or Happy New Year! The Chinese New Year (as well as the Lunar New Year, celebrated by many cultures) takes place on February 19, 2015, followed closely by International Mother Language Day on February 21 – what a perfect opportunity to touch on language and culture with children!
Celebrating the Chinese culture and their different New Year opens up a conversation about various countries of the world doing things a little differently. One of the most obvious ways we are all different is through language. This video ‘Hello to All the Children of the World’ is a beautiful thing to show children as the word ‘Hello’ is explored in language after language:
If there are children, families and educators within your centre who speak languages other than English, explore how you can encourage them to share their own special words for things and how fun it is for all of us to learn a little from one another’s mother language. If possible, plan something in advance – songs are a great way to share language with children and you never know who might like to share theirs.
International Mother Language Day aims to promote multiculturalism, linguistic diversity and to celebrate their associated cultures. In the case of China and the Chinese language, a big part of their culture is the Chinese New Year…
To celebrate the Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year in your centre, be aware that this year is the Year of the Goat! While children in your centres won’t have been born in the Year of the Goat as the last was in 2004, it is still fun to incorporate the animal into your art and craft activities. In fact, you could talk about all 12 of the animals involved in the 12-year cycle Chinese calendar – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. The Chinese New Year is also a time for feasting with family and celebrating, so you might like to offer some Chinese cuisine. Kidspot has plenty of Chinese food ideas for children.  And you can head here for a great bunch of ideas for your art and craft relating to Chinese New Year…
If you have a fantastic idea to share about celebrating the Chinese or Lunar New Year, or International Mother Language Day, we’d love to hear it. Let us know on Facebook.

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