‘Lunar New Year’ and the need to ‘DO THE WORK!’

I mentioned on my Lunar New Year post on Tuesday that I have seen children being provided with some really positive learning experiences all about Lunar New Year, including some of the absolutely wonderful books that are available for children to learn all about Lunar New Year and it is really encouraging that so many settings and practitioners have clearly been so attentive to the conversations surrounding Lunar New Year, however unfortunately the same cannot be said for everyone.

I have also shared some of the books I have been using in my setting on this blog. ‘The Great Race’ and ‘Ruby’s Chinese New Year’ are both recommended in the @besea.n (British East and South East Asian network) ‘Early Years Lunar New Year resource pack’ (which I cannot stress enough is essential reading for EVERYONE!), it include links of where you can purchase them.

There is also the ‘Tastes of Lunar New Year’ which I got from ‘Lantern Books’ and lastly ‘Lunar New Year’ which can be found at thisbooklove.com.

Now to address the problems I have seen… I cannot just leave it. Apologises for the content so I include a T.W. 🚨

In the days and weeks before Lunar New Year there have been many accounts on social media sharing ideas for Lunar New Year and detailing how you can educate your children on the festival in a culturally appropriate way. As myself and many others have mentioned there is also the @besea.n ‘Early Years Lunar New Year resource pack’ which has incredible activity ideas, a link to an article about ‘dressing-up’ and reminders of what you should not be doing with your children this week.

However, despite this, I have seen so many problematic posts, from practitioners wearing ‘Chinese New Year’ items of clothing to COUNTLESS sensory trays full of coloured rice and chopsticks!!! Do not just take it from me, a cisgender British White man that this is problematic. Here is the paragraph from the @besea.n pack explicitly detailing how you SHOULD NOT ‘condense ESEA cultures into singular tokens without an understanding of their history (e.g. sensory play with rice and chopsticks), so why do I still see it happening so widely?

More to the point, WHY do I still see this practice shared by companies such as @eyfstwinkl (Twinkl) As many of you may well know Twinkl as a company has been challenged before about their problematic and inappropriate content, particularly related to ‘Black History Month’ but they still seem intent on not ‘doing the work’ and continuing to share content like this anyway.

However it is not just Twinkl, in order for them to have content to share then there must be many settings and educators who are not ‘doing the work’ themselves either. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Ignorance is NOT a defence.

There are PLENTY of incredible easy / free to access resources and accounts out there to follow. Far too many to share here. But I will simply recommend two Instagram accounts:

  • @besea.n for their Lunar New Year pack and their wider work for the British East and South East Asian community, which is absolutely fantastic (please donate to them if you can too!)
  • @theblacknurserymanager – EVERYONE reading this post should follow Liz already, if you don’t then WHY? Do it right now!! Then get your drink of choice, get comfortable and look through her feed, read her articles, watch her videos (including an excellent recent recording of a live all about @besean’s pack) and learn. Absorb it. Reflect and then act.

 So now, while it is not too late, go and DO THE WORK!!!

Further links:

‘The Great Race’ – https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Great-Race-by-Eric-Lee-author-Ling-Lee-author-Rachel-Foo-illustrator/9798575640349

‘Ruby’s Chinese New Year’ – https://uk.bookshop.org/books/ruby-s-chinese-new-year/9781250133380

‘Tastes of Lunar New Year’ – https://www.lanternbooks.co.uk/product-page/tastes-of-lunar-new-year

British East and South East Asian network (@besea.n) – ‘Early Years Lunar New Year Resource Pack’ – https://www.besean.co.uk/resources-posts/the-lunar-new-year-early-years-learning-resource