Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog A Portland House pre-school parent kindly visited Bluebells to share their experiences of celebrating their Chinese New Year at home. She showed the children one of the hanging decorations that she used to decorate the inside of her house. The second decoration was a traditional decoration that is put around the outside of the front door to wish everyone a Happy New Year hoping that the coming year is better than the last. The children enjoyed examining the decorations as they passed them to each other. The tassels on the indoor decoration were a common topic of conversation. Mum taught the children the Chinese word “foo” which the children learnt and repeated after her meaning: Happy. We compared similarities and differences linking to other celebrations and mum explained that the two main colours linked to the Chinese New Year were red and gold. Similar to the Christmas celebration: red meaning “happy” and gold signifying “lucky”. Mum pointed out to the children that all the staff wore red, the colour meaning “happy”. The children enjoyed looking at her photos and liked the one where her child was helping to make Chinese dumplings, which is a traditional dish around this special time. Mum told the children that the whole family get together including grandparents and that the celebration lasts for 7 days. During this time people visit each other’s houses enjoying homemade Chinese dishes. Children also receive gifts of money in an envelope. She brought some envelopes in the nursery for the children to look at and one of the other little boys smiled in recognition knowing that he too had received one of these gifts. Mum showed the children an example of celebration treats enjoyed by children. The pre-school children had the opportunity to explore the healthy dried sweet potato snack using their senses, finding out that they felt very hard and smelt of vegetables. Later they experimented making Chinese marks using the dried sweet potato and black paint. Before mum left she wrote all the children’s names on a piece of paper in Chinese and the correct pronunciation so that they could add a picture and take it home to remember the experience.