Students made rooster collages with an art instructor from Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Photo by Raiza Giorgi

Star Report

Every year the party gets bigger and better as students at Santa Ynez Charter School celebrate Chinese New Year. This year the day was spent as students rotated from classroom to classroom learning about Chinese traditions and culture.

“I introduced Chinese New Year because my daughter was adopted from China and I wanted her class to know about her heritage, and we started by just doing a small gathering, but it is so much bigger now and amazing that all the kids look forward to this event,” said parent Vicky Hyland.

The classes were treated to Chinese-inspired food and recipes by Coreen Padilla of Starlight Kitchen, whose daughter also attends the school.

“Our parents are very hands-on and involved in the school learning process, which is why our school is set apart from others. Events like this bring different kids together and they can learn about different cultures,” Principal Mark Palmerston said.

Students learned about the art of tea from James Allen of Santa Barbara Tea Club; made rooster collages (for the Year of the Rooster) with Jessie McCurdy, art instructor at Santa Barbara Museum of Art; learned calligraphy with Si Jie Loo; and read children’s stories with leadership students from Dunn School.

They also enjoyed a performance by Shin-Ching Hu McSparron of Nipomo and participated in a traditional Chinese dance.