Liam's Birthday! Baxter's Birthday! Hinamatsuri! Hamantaschen!

What an exciting, emotional, culturally rich week we've had!

We celebrated Liam's birthday in the beginning of the week, and Baxter's at the end. In the middle we learned about Hinamatsuri, aka Girl's Day in Japan. Tomoko explained a bit about the holiday to the class. She taught them about the platform that Japanese families create to host their dolls, and sang a song for the holiday.

We created our own platform in school that we populated with dolls that we made together. We read about the traditions in a book called, "Show and Tell," by Rosemary Wells. It's traditional to place food in front of the hina dolls from the end of February through March 3, when the holiday takes place. After that it is considered bad luck to keep the dolls around. We gave food to our own dolls before nap, and when the children woke up the food was gone and the hina all had smiles on their faces. I guess they enjoyed their snacks! The children also enjoyed eating some special Japanese rice snacks that Tomoko brought in, as well as some mango ice cream mochi. They are very willing to try new things that are sweet!

Each hina doll has both a happy and sad face, and the children can turn the heads around to show what type of emotion the doll is feeling. We added that feature because we are beginning to talk about our feelings. We have started this study by thinking about the emotions "happy" and "sad." Talking to the children, we learned that family and friends make them happy, and pushing and yelling make them sad. As we continue with this study we will be exploring other emotions, and words and strategies we can use when we feel them.

We ended the week by also making some hamantaschen for the Jewish holiday of Purim. The children helped roll the dough, place the jelly in the middle, and then pinch the ends of the dough to make a triangle. We learned the song, "Chag Purim," and enjoyed our tasty treats. There was much happiness that day, along with a sugar high, thanks to the hamantaschen and the brownies at Baxter's birthday!

Happy birthday Liam!

Happy birthday Baxter!

Tomoko shows a picture of the hina dolls

The children color the hina dresses

They decorate their own dolls too!

The hina have their platform!

Let us feed our hungry hina!

Happy hina with their food and a visitor

Trying mango ice cream mochi

How do you say yummy in Japanese?

Learning about Purim

Now it's time to make the hamantaschen!

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