Third-grade students at Bronxville Elementary School – who have been studying different communities around the world – celebrated the Chinese New Year by participating in a variety of activities on Feb. 5 and 8.
Having learned about the holidays and festivals celebrated in China, the students further examined China’s traditions around its most important holiday, the Lunar New Year. They learned about the history and techniques of calligraphy, paper cutting and tai chi before participating in each activity. In addition, a group of students enjoyed cooking and eating dumplings and noodles.
“What was most memorable was being creative, but also having fun and seeing the outcome of our work,” third-grader Greta W. said. “I learned that paper cutting is important in Chinese culture. Many of the symbols represented hope, love and happiness and are important in the Chinese culture.”
Third-graders Sophie P. and Ella B. said they enjoyed the art of calligraphy because of the different symbols that Chinese people use to communicate.
“It’s cool how they have a different language than us and they use symbols to represent words,” Sophie P.
Veronica Lindahl, a third-grade teacher, said the immersive lessons inspired the students to try new things, exposed them to new cultures and encouraged them to become more engaged citizens.
As part of the learning experience, the students will go on a field trip in April to the Caramoor Center for Music and Art, where they will further study the Chinese culture. They will tour the historic Rosen House to view a collection of Chinese art and artifacts and listen to traditional Chinese music performed by musicians born and educated in China. They will also participate in brush painting using bamboo brushes and Chinese ink, and participate in traditional Chinese dance workshops, including lion dancing with masks and ribbon dancing.
In the spring, the students will use China as their model country to learn how to conduct research. Together, each class will create a website highlighting different aspects that make up their chosen country’s culture. The project will be in preparation for their circus performance in June, where students will be able to artistically display their new knowledge regarding the countries they have been studying.
“We feel that it is very important to teach children about different cultures and believe that the arts are a great forum for doing this,” teacher Justin Chao said. “The arts demonstrate to children cultural values and perspectives.”