SOUTH JORDAN — For those who have already abandoned their New Year's resolutions, there may be good news — a second chance. Lunar New Year is just around the corner.
"New year is a new chapter, New year is a fresh start," preschoolers chanted during a song and dance at Dancing Moose Montessori School Friday as the school celebrated the holiday.
The celebration was a chance for them to display the language skills they've already learned.
As a Chinese dragon, a tiny violin player and 50 kids wearing kimonos decorated the halls of the school, Emily Galbreath, the school's marketing coordinator, talked about how the students benefit from being immersed in another culture.
"It's really cool to see how much 4-year-olds can pick up on Chinese," she said.
The children, she said, are exposed to Mandarin Chinese in dual language classrooms. They study the language during classwork, reading and "circle" times.
Last year, the school had a waitlist for parents wanting to get their kids into the school.
She added that the 4- and 5-year-olds even learn how to write Mandarin characters, a skill that many adults would find challenging to pick up.
"The brain is more receptive when you learn another language young," Galbreath said.
Lunar New Year, she explained, gives them a chance to "celebrate the culture they learn about every day."
This year, the students have taken part in several Lunar New Year traditions.
One is that of giving red envelopes. As part of the tradition, adults give children or unmarried, unemployed adults red envelopes filled with money. The color red symbolizes "good luck" and happiness in the culture, according to History.com.Comment on this story
During Friday's celebration, a three-kid paper dragon weaved its way through the assembly room. The dragon is the "most powerful symbol of good fortune," according to the British Museum.
The children also participated in the practice of "New Year's cleaning" as they helped tidy up their classrooms to "remove the old and welcome the new."
The school has taught kids Mandarin for four years so far. "It just fires their brains to being even more receptive to learning math and everything else," Galbreath said.
This year's Lunar New Year is officially on Friday, Feb. 16.