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Baby Cereal!

December 14, 2020 | Nathan Johnson

It was exciting every time more of it arrived — More and more baby cereal showing up.

Now it lines the whole front wall of our meeting area!

The children wanted to know how much we had collected, but it was too many to count.

“I don’t know the next one,” said Lena, after counting as high as she could.

“We keep running out of numbers!” said Tommy

“It’s higher than we know how to go,” said Charlie

So then Mr. Johnson gave the children a new assignment — sorting!

The children were challenged to sort by color, by shape, and by size! 

And something amazing happened! 

When they were sorted into smaller groups, the children were able to count them!

Not only that, but they were able to compare amounts according to a category, seeing which numbers were bigger than others.

When you are three you might not know that 10 is more than 6, but when you see ten objects lined up next to six objects, the physical reality and the numeral representation start to come together as a single concept in your minds.

Sorting, comparing, and counting proved to be a lot of fun, children would often clap or cheer when they were done.

But the final piece of the puzzle came together today when Tommy had an idea.

Still dissatisfied that we didn’t know how many ALL the baby cereals were when counted together, he started to talk about how they would be able to do it when he was older. Then his eyes lit up…

“We could ask the Big Kids to count and tell us the answer!” he proclaimed, “They are always just down the hall.”

Audrey came by today to help us with our final count…

First, she added up our different category counts, and the children found it very interesting that all these different category counts added up to the same final total number.

The children kept track of every ten on their hands.

Then, just to double-check her work, we started counting from scratch, pointing to each one, as she led us in our biggest count of the year!! All the way from one to…


We collected 38 containers!

So many collected, and so much learned. 

Thank you, families, for your support in this project.

In Jesus Name Pantry next door, and many, many babies around Hoboken thank you as well.

Nathan Johnson

Early Childhood & Lower School Visual Art Teacher

Nathan Johnson graduated in 2004 from Lenoir-Rhyne University with a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts (focusing on Illustration, Art History, and Puppetry), Theatre, and Elementary Education, followed by further time in Europe studying Art, and in Nova Scotia working with adults with developmental differences.

Happily back at his Alma mater (MSS class of 1995) Nathan has passionately committed his career to preserving the dignity and wonder of childhood. As children are more and more burdened with technology and privilege, he believes that in order for children to learn and grow, they must be given freedom within structure, choices with guidance, allowed to play, struggle, get dirty, and above all, to be taught that they are a beloved child of God.

When not in the classroom, Nathan can be found kayaking, camping, hosting a game night, wandering around New York City, making friends with strangers, and spending time with his 11 nieces and nephews.

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