A few years ago, the idea of speaking to a class of 20 preschoolers about the Lunar New Year was not something I was jumping out of my seat to do. I certainly could never have imagined 40 little 2-5 year old hands handling raw meat without causing me a ton of stress and anxiety. But this is not my first rodeo (check out my post of the first time I did it with Viola's class!) This year will be my 4th year wrapping dumplings with Elsie's preschool and I've pretty much gotten the process down to a science! Set up shop within 10 feet of the bathroom sinks; have water pre-boiling in the kitchen while demonstrating; work in small groups; more action and less talk. If I really wanted to, I could probably start my own dumpling shop (no not really!)
But for me, the best part celebrating the Lunar New Year with my girls' schools is watching these kids try something new. For some, this is the first time they are even trying a dumpling (inconceivable, I know!) let alone making one. For me it's like magic to watch a child initially make faces and declarations of disgust at the mere mention of a dumpling, to the pride on their face when they wrap one without having the filling come out, to ruining their lunch by plowing through 5 dumplings within minutes. At the end of the day, the tray always comes back empty.
Now that Viola is in kindergarten with classes scheduled to the max, there is unfortunately not enough time for me to wrap dumplings with her class this year, despite my amazingly streamlined techniques. But I am still looking forward to speaking to her class about the Lunar New Year and will be making paper lanterns with class instead. So for now, I can only reminisce with these photos to when the girls were younger (and in the same school) and hope that they have the similar fond memories of wrapping dumplings with their peers.