Honestly, I don't know where January went and so I am going with the Chinese or Lunar new Year and wishing you a happy new year! 新年好 — Happy Chinese New Year.
I have been busy following children’s interests BUT the main focus has been on reconnecting with each other as we return from holidays. In the reconnecting we have discovered some worriers and I created an e-pattern and story basket based on the book Silly Billy. Don’t let the title fool you it is not about the saying and down playing emotions and worries. It is about finding ways to support them and Billy’s wise grandmother gives him a worry doll to tell his worries to.
We also made out own worry dolls and I saw how they opened children up to sharing and talking about their worries to them (the doll) and me.
In the lead up to February we have also been exploring the traditions and rituals of Chinese or the Lunar new year and have two new books illustrated by Grace Lin, Round is a mooncake and Bringing in the New Year. We started with Round is a mooncake and I learnt that the mooncake is made later in the year and that at Chinese New Year you make dumplings. Both books have fabulous illustrations with items from old and modern China, Round is a mooncake focuses on shapes and Bringing in the new year sharing the traditions of bringing in the New Year.
I bought mooncake moulds and stamps that will be available all year in out playdough tools and added to it a set of 3 dumpling presses. These were a bargain at $15 and great to have 3 different sizes.
I have also got out our whakapapa narratives as Waitangi day nears. This year I was inspired by followers and made peg dolls and craft sticks with washi tape (from a cheap store). These were inexpensive and a great addition to story baskets and small world play. They were really fast to make and not as fiddly as the ribbon ones I had made in the past. I have loved the open-endedness of these resources and stories children have told with them.
I also cut up a calendar I bough from a cheap shop to make dough or clay mats and also use them as art provocations. This has become a new year tradition.
Keeping cool and calm has been a focus and I got out our crayons resources and froze some hearts to paint with watercolour paints for the book LOVE from the crayons. We did this outside in the shade and indoors too. Offering both and on the same day was helpful to support and encourage time in or outside.
I also extended the heart play with some mindfulness painting. So simple! The children cut out hearts or whatever shape they wanted and then used watercolours to paint the pattern on the paper towel or colour it in.Using hearts will also be good for Valentine’s day if you see an interest in this or hearts and LOVE.
It has helped not only children but also myself to reflect on a fixed and growth mindset. It made me aware that in terms of COVID and the pandemic I had developed a fixed mindset and that this was making it hard for me to grow. This awareness has made it a little easier and rather than saying ‘it's never going to end’ and focusing on what I can’t do I have been able to look at what I have learnt about myself and say 'this is a moment in time'.
With a child it has been invaluable as he ALWAYS said “I can’t do it” before even trying to. The shift for him came with a new friendship much as it did for the Pout-Pout fish and he says it less often.
Last but not least we have been enjoying my FREE very hungry caterpillar posting tins! Have you got it yet?
Looking back on this blog I can now see where January went! It was BUSY!
Until next time
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