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Have You Heard About Our Bears?

October 6, 2021 | Kristen Jordan

You may have heard at home about your child having a bear at school. The bears appeared in the classroom a couple of weeks ago and the children began to wonder about them.

It was exciting to notice that there were more and more bears around the room!

Soon enough, one child picked one up and decided to cuddle with it.

When wondering about what bears might be useful for, one child suggested, “When someone is sad or misses their mom, they could hold a bear.”  After that, it was decided that everyone would like to have a bear of their own.  So each child chose the bear that seemed best for them. 

Everyone carefully chose a ribbon for their bear for easy identification.  And children began to learn about and discuss taking care of their bears.  The bears can be a great way to begin helping young children think about caring for something else (aka the beginnings of developing empathy). Most children have named their bears and it has been fun to hear the names they have chosen–From the very practical Bear, to the very imaginative Sparkle Cupcake. 

Children have been playing with their bears in the drama area and elsewhere; wrapping, cuddling, and rocking their bears.   They have prepared and served meals for their bears.  A bear apartment has appeared (city kids and city bears!) 

Sometimes young children are not yet ready to partake in things like standing up while the class sings their name, or jumping over the candlestick for the “Jack Be Nimble” rhyme, but the bears can stand in to help the children take part anyway.  And sometimes it’s just plain fun to have your bear do the clapping, hand raising, or jumping!  

The bears can help comfort children when they need it, and help them to understand and deal with feelings.   The bears may also help children with transitions from home to school, as well as transitions during the school day.  

Some children like to have them with them at all times and others are happy to only have their bear on occasion.  You might ask your child about his or her bear and some of the activities that he or she does with the bear at school!

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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