Local Schools Ring in the Year of the Dog

Center for Children 1

By Nicole Moore

Several local schools in the Crescenta Valley ushered in the Lunar New Year celebrating the Year of the Dog.

“Xīnnián kuàilè!” exclaimed one beaming member of the Center for Children, a preschool and childcare facility in the La Crescenta community, when teachers Julie Larson asked her how to pronounce Happy New Year in Chinese.

“Xīnnián kuàilè!” repeated back a few of her excited classmates.

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On Friday, the Center for Children celebrated the Lunar New Year for the first time on its grounds. The children, ages 4 and 5, decorated fish shaped kites, snacked on dumplings and happily marched in a Golden Dragon parade (top right). The co-teachers of the class, Julie Larson and Charlotte Yerke, referenced Grace Lin’s book “Bringing in the New Year” to add authenticity to the event while making it a fun occasion for their students.

At first some of the children were apprehensive about tasting the dumplings. Yerke, who has been teaching at the Center for Children for the past 25 years, was quick to remedy the situation.

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“That’s the fun thing about trying something new,” she told the class. “It can be a surprise if you like it.”

Yerke also explained the process of making dumplings and told her students they could also be dipped in sauce.

But the children weren’t that enthusiastic and responded with a resounding “Ewww.”

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After the dumplings were finished, each child was given a fortune cookie and then patiently waited for their fortunes to be read aloud. Then it was time for the parade. Some of the children were given the role of being a part of the dragon’s body while others got to bang on drums. The children traveled from classroom to classroom to wish their peers a Happy New Year.

At Lincoln Elementary School (middle right), children cut out dog masks that they could wear to commemorate the Year of the Dog while at Monte Vista Elementary (bottom right), students in the Korean FLAG program invited their grandparents to take part in the day’s festivities. Several of the students dressed in colorful Korean garb.

Photos provided by Wendy MAYNARD,
Nicole MOORE, Rosabel PARK and Suzanne RISSE

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