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Chinese New Year

½ day session often combined with visiting teachers leading the craft session in doors. See training notes for crafts and all resources.

Learning Objectives

Most pupils will:

  • Explore the Story of how the Chinese New Year calendar became named after the 12 animals.
  • Understand the importance - for some people - of belonging to a religion and how they celebrate different festivals
  • Use their senses to experience a new environment
  • Use natural and made materials to make their crafts to take back to school
  • Use shape and symbols
  • Importance of working as a team
  • Move safely in the outdoors

Some pupils will also have the opportunity to:

  • They begin to show awareness and make links with some of the similarities of different festivals.
  • Pupils begin to talk about their own experiences of festivals.

Key words/phrases

Celebrations, festivals, dragons, lanterns, money envelopes, pagoda, Willow Pattern


On arrival a member of OEE staff will welcome your group to the Centre and describe the day’s programme, learning objectives, and the health and safety issues.

½ Day Course Programme

Classes will then separate and sessions A and B will be interchangeable am and pm with session A generally led by the centre teacher.

Session A: Can be led by centre teacher or by visiting teacher

  • Health and Safety talk
  • Introduction in classroom to mornings contents (5 mins)
  • Walk to hall and gardens area, sit at log circle (5 mins)
  • Basic intro and questions to see what children already know about the celebration/story of the Chinese New Year (5 mins)
  • Read the story of the animal race and children can join in with relevant role play (10 mins)
  • Give out the relevant masks of the 12 animals for children to wear and options are: to just walk round log circle making animal noises or go to grass area and do a mock race finishing in the order of the story, swap over so all children get chance to take part i.e. in heats
  • Explain next activity ‘photo orienteering’ in hall and gardens areas, pupils need to be in groups of 4, 5 or 6
  • Photo orienteering session (8 points) at each point a wallet will contain a Chinese treasure that they will place in a collecting bag (30 mins-40 mins)
  • When done sit all teams on steps in front of hall and ask them about things they collected (3 mins)
  • Then all children will get inside dragon costume and holding dragon head at front and children holding instruments they will perform a dragon dance.
  • Walk to toilet block and wash hands (10mins)

Session B: Chinese New Year Crafts - indoor due to time of year

  • Class will be set up with all 4 crafts with all relevant resources.
  • Dragon head - cardboard heads, black felt tips, scissors ash keys, red strips of card, goggly eyes, wooden coloured lolly sticks
  • Lantern - red card stencils on back table , scissors, ash keys, sequins, staplers and staples , sellotape, strips of metallic card for handles of lantern
  • Willow pattern plate - paper plates, blue crayons blue felt tip pens, china plate, photo copied laminated willow pattern designs.
  • Depending on which year the festival is celebrating there will be a relevant craft for that animal.


Back at the Centre the group will reflect on their day and consider how well the learning objectives have been met (5 mins).

Safety issues

Refer to Brackenhurst EEC Risk Assessment Br 9.