Branch: Capitol Hill
Age/Type: Toddler Story Time
Storyteller: Ms. Rachel
I visited with Ms. Rachel once already for the Family Story Time at the Madrona-Sally Goldmark Branch, however it was nice to see a different approach for a different age group.
The meeting room upstairs is all decorated for story time when I enter. Ms. Rachel has put together a book display and laid out name tags on a table. The front of the room has a map of the world and a felt board with Chinese lanterns. I am very excited to see it is going to be about Chinese New Year! My husband is Chinese-American and his family celebrates the holiday.
We begin with an opening song and a round of "Open and Shut Them."
Ms. Rachel tells us, that continuing with our tour of the world, we will talk about China. She points out China on the map and tells us how to say "Happy New Year!" in Chinese.
It turns out that there are a lot of ways to say this and I'm sorry to say I cannot remember which one she used. My personal favorite, and one I can't use because I'm married now, is "Kung Hei Fat Choy." This is basically a way of saying "Happy New Year, now give me my red envelope full of cash!" I was lucky enough to get the gift of Lai See from my in-laws last New Year when I was engaged. Now it is our job to give others money. Share the love!
There are more common ways to say Happy New Year, however. Chinese is a very tonal language, so it is best to listen to a phrase and attempt to get the intonation just right. Here is a link I found from Good Characters, a company that helps North American businesses translate copy into Chinese. My husband claims I am incapable of getting the tones correct, so good luck!
Book: Two Shy Pandas
Next we sing the color song, picking out colors on our clothing.
"If you're wearing red today, red today, red today. If you're wearing red today, stand up and say hooray! (repeat with other colors)."
Book: Red is a Dragon
This is a perfect book for toddlers. Bright pictures and simple words to teach colors.
Now it is time for scarf dancing. Ms. Rachel even lets me have one! She passes out brightly colored scarves and puts on a CD. The song we dance to is "The Rhythm in the Scarves" by Johnette Downing.
Once everyone has returned their scarves and settled down, Ms. Rachel does a flannel story with the Chinese lanterns on the felt board. She sings a song to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."
"One Chinese lantern, shining bright. Use them to light your way in the night. If it's really dark, just light one more. That's what Chinese lanterns are for." Each time she adds one until she gets to five. At this point she alters the rhyme a little to wish us all Happy New Year again in Chinese.
Ms. Rachel gets out a nonfiction book that they have been using about world cultures and reads the section on China.
Book: Children Around the World
Now it is time to go and we sing a closing song, "Skinny Marinky Dinky Dink."
She has hand stamps for the children and a craft. Today's craft is a Chinese Dragon.
Happy Chinese New Year! I hope you have a truly calm and peaceful year of the sheep.