2020 Jan Newsletter



Teaching our kids about MLK by Aiyana Brooks

Lunar New Year by Gloria Choi

Please remember that the ideas presented here represent the views of our individual contributors and should not be construed as representative of the entire Parent Association.

We seek to create a respectful atmosphere that allows space for a multitude of perspectives and so we welcome contributions from our parent community. If you would like to share your perspective, please contact the Diversity Committee <ps24diversity@gmail.com>. 



Martin Luther King Jr. Day falls on Monday, January 20, and all New York City public schools will be closed. This day provides a great opportunity to introduce the legacy of Dr. King to our children, but for those of us with very young kids, we may not know where to start. How does one communicate all the nuances of Dr. King’s bravery and resilience in the face of the ugliness and brutality of racism, and his hope and strength in knowing that our country could one day be a beautiful landscape of equality for everyone ? What is the most effective way to present these ideas to a 5 or 6-year old?  

a book for 5 and 6 year old about Martin Luther King Jr. 

Below are a few suggestions:

Talk about Dr. King throughout the year, not just in January. One elementary school teacher told me that she keeps a picture of Martin Luther King on display in her classroom year round. Throughout the year, if any children ask about the picture, she will answer as honestly and simply as possible, describing Dr. King as  “a great leader who tried to make the world a better place for everybody.” She has found that when she is ready to do a full lesson on Dr. King, the children already have some familiarity with him, and are naturally curious to learn more.

Read a book. .

 easy to read book about Martin Luther King Jr. 

Watch his most famous speech together.  Then, brainstorm with your kids about ways they can make the world better. In 1963, during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, from the steps of the Lincoln Monument, Dr. King delivered what would become his most iconic speech. Even our youngest kids can relate to the words, “I have a dream,” and the idea of wanting to make our world better. After watching, see what ideas your little ones have for how they would improve their surroundings.

Listen to the Happy Birthday song. In 1980, Stevie Wonder wrote a song in honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday. Listen and sing along. Slightly older kids might appreciate seeing the lyrics.

Attend an event. There are many events happening throughout the city to commemorate Dr. King. Below is a short list of noteworthy events happening around the city:


LUNAR NEW YEAR by Gloria Choi

  happy new year picture with a rat  

This year the Lunar New Year falls on January 25th.  This holiday is also known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival.  The Lunar calendar year is based on the cycles of the moon, which vary slightly from month to month.  Each cycle lasts about 29.5 days so a lunar year is approximately 354 days. Therefore, the date of the Lunar New Year changes every year!

Many countries in Asia celebrate the lunar new year including China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, to name a few.  Each country has their own way of celebrating that can involve week long celebrations filled with food and family. 

Many parents who immigrate to the United States try to preserve their home culture in their children by observing certain traditions. For example, growing up as a Korean American, we celebrated January 1st AND the Lunar New Year by dressing in traditional gowns called a “hambok” and bowing to our elders. When bowing, the lower you bow, the more respect you show.  On important occasion like New Years, children are expected to do the most respectful bow, which is kneeling and placing your hands and then your forehead to the ground, while wishing your elders good health and prosperity in the new year.  In return, you receive an envelope with money to start your year off with good fortune. A feast is then eaten that always includes a rice cake soup called, dduk kook. It’s a fun tradition and the kids love it because they can get a lot of money if they bow to a lot of elders!

Another fun part of the Lunar New Year is the Chinese zodiac.  There is a 12-year cycle and each year is represented by an animal; it is sort of like the monthly zodiac signs you’ve probably heard before.  The 12 Chinese zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. Chinese people who believe in the zodiac associate each animal with certain personalities or characteristics. 

This is the year of the Rat.  People who are born the year of the Rat are said to be: optimistic and energetic, people born in the Rat year are likable by all. They are sensitive to other’s emotions but are stubborn with your opinion. Their personality is kind, but due to weak communication skills, their words may seem impolite and rude.  To read more about this, you can do a quick google search of Chinese Zodiac to learn more. 

We hope you enjoyed this piece about the Lunar New Year.  You can also take a look at the books below if you’re interested in learning more about a specific country’s way of observing or the Lunar Year in general.  Thanks for reading!

 a book called lunar new year  a book called vietnamese Children's favorite stories  a book called new clothes for new years day