DRAGONS, snakes and lions took over Windmill Hill Day Nursery for a week-long celebration of Chinese New Year.

The children were treated to a visit from Jonathan’s Jungle Roadshow, which included live milk snakes to celebrate the year of the snake.

They also had a session with professional dance teacher Jemma Turland, who took the dragon and lion-masked children through their steps in a special garden routine while other children played Chinese music on home-made drum kits.

Deputy manager Laura Malyon said: “The celebrations provide so many opportunities to be imaginative and creative, and the learning opportunities are endless from studying animals up close to measuring ingredients in the baking of traditional treats.”

For Nursery Practitioner Haoling Lewis, the celebrations brought back happy memories of her childhood in northern China and Beijing.

“The children have been putting little red money wallets on the orange tree at nursery reminding me of the excitement I felt as a child when I woke to find money gifts under my pillow in Pingin,” she said.

The master of ceremonies for the celebrations, Haoling, helped pre-schoolers make an English version of traditional Chinese dumplings using jam, and gave advice to the children as they made individual lion masks.

Haoling also provided 56 different national and regional costumes for the children to dress up, and role-play corners were turned into a Chinese kitchen and restaurant.