“I haven’t decided whether to do Chinese Mother’s Day on May 11 or French Mother’s Day on May 20 with the students,” says Julie Castellotti with a laugh. She’s the lead teacher at La Maison Montessori de Pékin (LMMP), the only bilingual French-Chinese Montessori kindergarten in Beijing. The school opened just last September with three students; it currently has 11 children, with a maximum capacity of 18. LMMP is run from a small but airy hutong space in the Dongsishitiao area with a courtyard for the kids to play and garden in. Under Castellotti’s guidance, 3-year-old Amos Favard – smartly dressed in suspenders and a plaid button-down shirt – shows us how to make a classic Mother’s Day card for maman. Though there is sewing involved, the little boy seems to know exactly what to do. “The students have been practicing in class,” explains Castellotti as she shows me a box of stitching supplies. Perhaps Amos has also inherited some of his dad’s dexterity; Nicolas is a jewelry designer with his own shop in Sanlitun.
- Two pieces of plain white paper (pre-cut into two heart shapes of the same size)
- One piece of red construction paper (pre-cut into a slightly larger heart shape)
- Non-toxic paint (any color)
- White yarn
- Blunt darning needle
- Glue stick
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Suitable for: Ages 3-5 (adult supervision required)
1. Using a paintbrush, paint the child’s palms with the color of their choice. Make sure there’s enough pigment to leave a clear handprint on a piece of paper.
2. Then, have them fan their hands out and firmly press them onto one of the white paper hearts. Set it aside to dry, then have the child wash their hands for the next step.
3. Using the darning needle, poke holes along the edge of the larger red paper heart; they should be spaced about 1.5cm apart. Thread about 30 cm of white yarn into the needle, then have the child sew all along the edge. When they’re done, bind off by making a simple knot, tucking the end of the yarn in, and cutting off the excess.
4. Now that it’s dry, glue the white paper heart with the handprint on one side of the red paper heart.
5. On the other side, glue the second white paper heart. Help the child write “Happy Mother’s Day” in the language of your choice. If they’re able, have them sign underneath their handprint; otherwise, help them write their name.
Photos: Mitchell Pe Masilun
This article originally appeared on p42-43 of the beijingkids May 2014 issue. Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com