Liying Yang is the lead Chinese Montessori teacher in Casa D, teaching children ages 3- to 6-years-old. Originally from Hebei, Yang has lived in Beijing for 12 years, and worked at Daystar Academy for six of them. She selected this craft to teach her students about the most auspicious and highest ranking animal in the Chinese zodiac. “I wanted to select an activity that was reflective of the importance of Chinese culture and tradition, but is still fun and easy for little kids to follow,” she says. “We focus on different themes each month. This month we are focussing on Spring Festival, and tying in various arts and crafts activity to the theme,” says Yang.
“Montessori promotes independence,” says Yang. “The students choose when they would like to do a particular craft, and at what pace.” On our visit to Daystar it’s easy to see Montessori theory in action. The kids freely explore different areas of the classroom and choose their own activities. Some join in the craft project, some are learning about the solar system, some are making paper imitation-firecrackers. On paper it sounds like chaos should ensue, but an atmosphere of quiet focus prevails. Children work independently – dexterously cutting with real scissors, nonchalantly carrying water in a pottery jug – tasks that not every 4-year-old can accomplish without accident.
• Printed dragon sheet (www.beijing-kids.com/download/Daystar handicraft.pdf)
• Crayons or markers
• A4 sized red or yellow paper
• 2 ice cream sticks
1. Color in the dragons on the printed dragon sheet. Carefully cut out each part.
2. Fold the A4 paper accordion style. Then cut the paper into four pieces. Glue the pieces together to make one length for the body.
3. Glue the dragon head on one end, and the tail on the other.
4. Attach the dragon feet, and ice cream sticks.
This article originally appeared on page 34-35 of the beijingkids February 2016 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org