Developing a Sense of Belonging Through Cultural Celebration at Guardian Underwood

Children decorating red envelopes during Chinese New Year celebration

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To further develop the children’s sense of belonging and identity, the team at Guardian Childcare & Education Underwood organised a series of themed experiences for the children to explore during the Centre’s Chinese New Year celebration. 

Educational Leader, Milly, shares details of the experiences the children participated in to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year.

“Our children and families at Underwood actively participate in sharing their cultural values and beliefs throughout the year, and our Chinese New Year celebrations were no different,” shares Milly.

“Dressed in celebratory colours and traditional costumes, the children and teachers learnt about Chinese culture through arts, music, language and cooking dumplings throughout the day.”

children making dumplings during Chinese New Year celebration

To organise the learning experiences and activities, the team sat down with the Centre chef to decide on a dish to make during the cooking experience, and source a recipe that was both nutritious and vegetable-based.

“We decided to cook noodles for the nursery children to eat and try using chopsticks to eat, and prepared vegetable dumplings with the older children for their cooking experience,” explains Milly.

After exploring traditional Chinese food, the children took to decorating red envelopes with dragons, blossoms and Chinese symbols which they then gifted to their families.”

“To further celebrate, we encouraged the children and families to wear red on Friday, as red signifies good luck and prosperity in Chinese culture. We also had a few of our Educators and children wear traditional costumes, which was really exciting.”

Educator wearing red shirt holding a child dressed in traditional Chinese costume

The children were really interested and curious throughout all of the experiences. During their cooking experience, the older children expressed how much they liked eating noodles and dumplings, so we’re working on adding them to the menu as a regular meal.”

As the kindergarten children began learning Chinese through the ELLA program in 2019, the celebration was an excellent opportunity for them to test their knowledge and connect the language to their learning experiences.

“The celebration allowed the children to explore their identities and how they belong to their own cultures, and the Centre community,” says Milly.

“As we are still in a transition period with the children who are new to the Centre, it was a great opportunity for everyone to bond and find their rhythm at the Centre.”

envelopes decorated during Chinese New Year celebration @ Guardian Underwood

“It was lovely to see the children so settled and comfortable, whether that was sitting down together during the chopstick experience or dancing as a group to traditional Chinese music.”

As Chinese New Year is an occasion to celebrate with family and friends, the Underwood team were glad to receive such positive feedback on the day from the families.

“The families were impressed to see how their children were involved in the learning experiences and developed a deeper understanding of the community that they are part of,” shares Milly.

“The older children were really focused and confident in doing something for themselves during the cooking experience, and were proud to show their families their handmade dumplings.”

toddler eating noodles with chopsticks during Chinese New Year celebration

“One of our nursery room mothers was so surprised to see her daughter using chopsticks. She’s since decided to further explore them at home and build on what her daughter learnt during our celebrations.”

Milly and the team look forward to continuing their exploration of different cultures and fostering the children’s sense of identity and belonging within their community and beyond.

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