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Exploring Statues in the City

March 17, 2021 | Kristen Jordan

As we have continued to learn about and explore the city, children have been excited to think about some of the many things in cities: buildings, workers, vehicles, people.  But the thing that they have continued to be really interested in is statues! 

We have been learning more about the Statue of Liberty and the children have been pondering what it could possibly be made out of–cardboard? Legos? Metal or steel? Glass? We have had some discussions about the properties of these materials and children have continued to formulate theories about the materials that make up the Statue of Liberty.  They are wondering about how the statue was constructed.  This is deep thinking for 4 and 5 year olds.  Today, while reading a book, the children learned that the outside is covered in copper that is only the thickness of 2 pennies!  But they are still wondering why it is green-colored and what is under that copper. It is a process of discovery! 

One thing that is helping children to think about properties of materials is that we have viewed several more statues near us: the statues outside the church, the owl on the library.  We went back to the Fire Fighter’s monument in Church Square Park. Children thought that it looks like the pedestal is made from rock of some sort and that it looks like the statue itself is made from metal.  They are observing so carefully and connecting their knowledge to what they see.  

We also took a look at the statue at the other end of Church Square park, which also looks like it is made from stone.   The children really loved the eagle on top!  We learned that this statue is of Guglielmo Marconi, an inventor who is credited with inventing the wireless; the radio.  I shared a radio with the children today and some wondered if a radio is the same as Alexa.  The children are really thinking, asking such good questions, making so many connections and extending their learning about statues into many arenas! 

Statues have gotten us thinking about the scientific properties of materials, as well as mathematical ideas around balance and stability.  How can you make your own body balanced?  As Patton told us, “You have to stabilize your two feet!”  And we tried doing just that, as well as compensating with other parts of our bodies as we practiced posing like statues. 

As we study statues, there are many curricular areas that have helped us to explore and think more about statues.  Ms. Gluckow taught the children about creating sculptures using clay.  The children have been trying out how to form and shape clay, get it to balance, how to make it strong and stable, and how to make the pieces stay together.  It requires lots of patience and focus!  

Blocks are another area that have come into play as the children explore balance and stability.  How do you make sure that a block will stand? What gives it stability (the flat board helps!)  When building, it helps to make sure that you work slowly and carefully, use connectors, and make sure there are no gaps. 

Children are learning all kinds of information, including new vocabulary as we study statues: symbols, monument, pedestal, balance, stabilize.

The big question we are still wondering about is: Why are there statues?  

Sky proposed, “Maybe because people like them.” and Elli suggested, “Maybe statues remind people about something.”  What great ideas!  

We hope that as you are walking or driving around, you may notice and discuss statues with your child.  And please share with us any statues that you find along the way!  

Kristen Jordan

Teacher, Rivers Class

Kristen Jordan began helping at Mustard Seed School in 2006, after her daughter had been a student in the preschool. She substituted for many years in all grades; in 2011, she returned to the classroom and has been a teacher in The Nest ever since.

Prior to the birth of her daughter Clara, in 2002, Ms. Jordan worked in Brooklyn as a first grade teacher with the New York City Public Schools. During this time, her school collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum, and this work helped Ms. Jordan develop a real interest in the parallels between the process of making art and the process of writing in the classroom. She thoroughly enjoys teaching both art and literacy to preschoolers.

Ms Jordan’s background includes work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. While at Teachers College, she trained with esteemed educator and author Lucy Calkins. Early in her teaching career, Ms. Jordan did not think that she wanted to teach very young children but her view has changed! She now really enjoys and takes great interest in young children and their development.

Ms. Jordan enjoys reading, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her daughter and family. Although she has lived on the East Coast for a very long time, as a native of Oregon, she really loves the mountains!

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