The Mid-Autumn Festival is upon us. Boxes of Mooncakes are seen everywhere. Well-wishers hand out these boxes to friends saying: Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè (中秋节快乐)!
Lanterns of different sizes and shapes are displayed around Shekou. All these are in the children’s environment which gives us an excellent opportunity to raise their awareness and knowledge of this wonderful and fun Chinese Festival.
Reading books is always the best starting point to introduce a topic. Early in the week, we read Roseanne Thong’s and Grace Lin’s book: Round is a Mooncake (A book of Shapes). The book not only talked about the Festival but it also pointed out shapes that can be seen around.
The following day, the children were surprised to see (a photo of) the moon in our classroom! We invited them to make their very own silvery moon. It was nice to see how they share the materials prepared for them.
On the third day, we were fortunate to receive a box of mooncakes from one of our families! Perfect! Shall we try a slice of a mooncake?
While many of our friends declined with a polite: “No, thank you”, a few of our friends just couldn’t stop eating!
We also made lanterns made out of water bottles and used colored tissue paper to make them look special! Oh! And because we believe in respecting our environment (plants, animals, and property), this is the best time to expose the children to repurposing materials!
On the last day of the week, the children had a chance to make their own version of the moon cake-by using butter cookie recipe! We mixed the ingredients: butter, egg, flour, vanilla, etc. Then we rolled the mixture into a ball. When it was ready to be used, the children pressed their round cookie batter flat and used a mooncake shaped cookie cutters!
My goodness, we haven’t seen such busy Love Penguins so engaged in rolling the cookie batter and cutting out their mooncake shaped cookies! We baked their cookies and packed them just in time for dismissal! They were so happy and PROUD of the cookies they made! (We hope they shared some with you at home!) 😉
Love Penguins, we hope you get a chance to see the moon during the Festival!
Zhōngqiū jié kuàilè!
Learning Outcomes of this experience:
Emotional/Social Development: Raising cultural awareness. Collaboration and cooperation. Increasing the sense of belonging.
Language Development: Listening to books being read. Conversations; exchanging previous experiences, if any. The building of vocabulary.
Physical Development: Fine motor (hand) muscles strengthened through making crafts and handling the cookie batter.
Using our senses (Sensorial)
Textures (slippery & slimy paint and butter, thick & thin paper)
Scent (vanilla, butter)
Flavour (vanilla, sugar, flour, butter)
Pre-Math and Pre-Chemistry concepts
Following the recipe is an introduction to math concepts (i.e. quantity, measurement, volume, sequencing) and chemistry (i.e. what happens to solids when liquids are added in?).
Introduction to Inquiry
In this experience, we first asked them if they had mooncakes at home (makes it more meaningful and personalized), then we asked their opinions if they like it or not, which part is their favorite, etc. “What’s so special about these days? Why are there mooncakes at your home?” One child answered: “(Because it’s) Zhongqiu jie!”
Conversations with the children give teachers an idea what they know from a previous – similar – experience from home (we try to find out their prior knowledge so it can guide us – on how to further their development in areas that need strengthening).
Try offering these experiences with your child at home!