Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pine Grove prekindergarteners greet the Chinese new year

Prekindergarten teacher Laura Lieker leads her class around the school in a parade as part of their Chinese new year celebration. The children held a paper dragon over their heads as they marched while Lieker played her recorder. “It just makes your heart happy,” said paradegoer Marie Bodtmann.

Photo by PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

Prekindergarten teacher Laura Lieker leads her class around the school in a parade as part of their Chinese new year celebration. The children held a paper dragon over their heads as they marched while Lieker played her recorder. “It just makes your heart happy,” said paradegoer Marie Bodtmann.

BROOKSVILLE

The Chinese began celebrating their new year on Feb. 3, and Pine Grove Elementary School joined in the festivities. Prekindergarten teacher Laura Lieker felt it would be an interesting way to teach cultural diversity, reinforce science concepts and practice reading, writing and social skills. Lieker is assisted in her prekindergarten class of 15 special-needs students by paraprofessionals Sharon Gottschalk and Rose Schavel.

"Every year we do the Chinese new year," Lieker said. "We make a big paper dragon. Every year we read Chinese stories we like. We look at the globe.

"We share everything we know about the new year," she said. "The children draw pictures and write dictated stories. They talk about the year's animal. This is the year of the rabbit.

The whole unit culminates with a parade. The students, wearing red and flowered kimonos, lined up to form a dragon.

Lieker led, holding the dragon's head and playing a wooden recorder. The children followed, holding the paper body of the creature over their heads. The children shook instruments —clackers, bells, cymbals and tambourines.

The parade was the opportunity to work on social skills. Such things as maintaining personal space, cooperating with others, following directions and taking turns were practiced during the parade.

As the children marched through classrooms and down walkways, visiting relatives clicked photos and shot video footage.

Rick and Sandy Liebl enjoyed watching their son, Dominic Liebl, 3. "It's nice," said Rick Liebl. "The kids seem to enjoy it a lot. Through things like this, it really helps them open up and do a lot more things than they used to (do)."

He and his wife have been pleased with this kind of activity and the other things going on in Lieker's classroom. "Since he's been here, it's been like night and day with his speech," Rick Liebl said about Dominic. "Everything's connecting, because she makes everything fun. It's a huge difference and I see a lot of difference with the other kids, too. It's very nice."

Sandy Liebl agreed. She said things like the parade warm her heart. "It's just adorable. I can't wait until the next thing."

After the parade, the children tried rice crackers, Chinese noodles (crunchy and soft), water chestnuts, fortune cookies and tea.

Donna Bloom and her mother, Marie Bodtmann, are the grandmother and great-grandmother of 5-year-old Zoe Bloom. Bodtmann was teary-eyed as she talked about the parade. "It just makes your heart happy," she said.

Liam Irizarry, 4, said, for him, the best part of learning about the Chinese new year was the dragon. Bernice Irizarry is pleased that her son is beginning to learn about other places. "It makes me feel so good that he's learning about culture and different things," she said.

Lieker tries to tie lessons into fun activities. As she served the noodles, Lieker sneaked in a quick science tidbit. "Water was our liquid. Noodles were our solid," she said. Then she scooped them into bowls.

Pine Grove prekindergarteners greet the Chinese new year 02/09/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 14, 2011 1:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

    Gilmore
  2. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  3. Editorial: Trump uses Americans' health care as bargaining chip

    Editorials

    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself. The president's unilateral actions are aimed at driving up premiums, steering healthy people away from the federal marketplace and ensuring his inaccurate description of the law as a …

    Unable to persuade Congress to kill the Affordable Care Act, President Donald Trump appears determined to do the dirty work himself.
  4. Port Richey fire chief charged with DUI, hitting a cop in the face

    Crime

    PORT RICHEY — The Port Richey fire chief crashed a motorcycle, showed signs of impairment and hit a New Port Richey police officer in the face after being taken to the hospital Sunday night, according to a police report.

    A screenshot from the web site of Little Corona's Cigar Lounge, owned by Port Richey Fire Chief Timothy Fussell, who was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and battery on a law enforcement officer Sunday night.
  5. Trump: Cuba 'is responsible' for attacks on U.S. personnel

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he believes Cuba "is responsible" for attacks on American government personnel in Havana.

    President Donald Trump answers questions as he speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., in the rose Garden after their meeting at the White House, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, in Washington. [Associated Press]