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Spring Is Here!

May 4, 2022 | Kristen Jordan

Spring is in full swing and the Rivers children have been taking it all in!  The children have noticed birds hopping and chirping, flowers sprouting up, worms emerging and trees blossoming.  There is so much new life around us! 

As part of our observation of spring, one distinction we have been discussing together is the difference between living things and non-living things.  Categorizing things as “alive” or “not alive” has become a fun game.  Children are learning that living things grow and move (just like the children do), and they need water, food and air to survive (just like they do).  One tricky thing we have talked about is how many things used to be part of a living thing (such as a stick) but are no longer alive. It is also baffling for children to hear that people are animals!  

Here, children are having a discussion about what is alive and not alive in the display:

There is so much new life to see each day!  One of the most exciting spring discoveries in the park has been worms!   One morning after a big rain, the children noticed many, many worm trails. Then they decided to draw worm trails of their own!

We have been taking detours on our way to the park to notice what growing and changing around us.  

The children have even taken some photos of their own, which provides them with a different way of looking at and observing the world around them.  Here are a few of their images! 

The children are considering what might help things to grow, as they observe outdoors and indoors.  The plants in our classroom have been growing and changing all year.  They know that plants need soil, water, light and time. 

Children have been painting flowers–not from observation, but from their minds.  They are mixing paint and creating beautiful images of flowers!  

The children have also continued to develop the habit of looking really closely as they look and draw beautiful spring flowers, plants in our classroom, and seeds that will be planted for future observation.

As they observe and recreate through artwork, they learn about parts of plants that are similar–the seed, roots, stems, flowers, leaves.  They can also see how each plant is unique and different, just like they are!

As children notice growth and change in the world around them, they are also thinking about changes in themselves as they grow.  Four year olds are very excited about getting physically bigger and taller!  “I’m taller now!”  “I used to be 3 and now I’m 4!”

We are also talking with them about how they have grown in other ways: Such as having an easier time saying goodbye to someone when they get dropped off, zipping up their coats,  climbing where they weren’t able to before, drawing with more detail and writing more letters. These observations may seem small or insignificant to us as adults but considering how you are progressing, and how the world around you is growing and changing can help children to better understand their place in the world and in God’s plan.

As we emphasize observing nature in our midst, we hope that children will develop as citizens who notice and engage with, enjoy and value the natural world.

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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