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What is Important in the City? Relationships with People!

April 19, 2023 | Kristen Jordan

We have been talking about and exploring our city for quite a while now.  One of the subjects that has had a lot of energy among the children is the topic of the PEOPLE who work and help in our city. Children have really been inspired by those who help keep our city running and livable.  

We have read many books about the people who help communities and the children have interacted with many people in Hoboken who contribute to their lives in the city. They see city vehicles, street sweepers, police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances.  The children have responded with lively conversation and questions about the important roles many people play in Hoboken.  In response, Children have done many drawings of people, activities and things they see in the city.   

Children have also had the opportunity to role-play in drama some of the city workers that are of particular interest to them.  

They have been building their own city in the block area that includes many of the things and people they have observed, including many vehicles and rainbow fire escapes!  

But the connections the children have made with many people who work in our city have brought the children the most joy and intrigue.  Carmen, the Crossing Guard is a favorite friendly and very helpful face for the children.  

Daily, the children see the many people who care for the park.  They have observed workers doing construction and maintenance.  

They now keep their eyes out for our friendly park worker, Dennis, who we see most days of the week.  He does a variety of jobs and the children realize how helpful he is in keeping our park clean and safe.

One day, the children found lots of plastic Easter grass that had been left behind. Every child happily picked up this garbage and dutifully put it into the can, and then eagerly waited for Dennis to arrive so that they could report their handiwork to him.  They were so proud to do their part in helping to keep Church Square Park clean!

The children have also been very interested in the police officers and firefighters we see in our city.  Elaina’s Mama, very fortunately, happens to be a police officer and she generously agreed to come in and talk to the children about her job!

After Officer Rose taught the children about what she does and showed them her uniform and many of her tools, she joined us in the park, where the children really enjoyed playing with her!

But then something unexpected happened!  We noticed that Dennis, (remember our friendly park helper?) was waving Officer Rose to come over. He was standing in the dolphin area with a man who was sitting on a bench.  Although Rose was not on duty, she went over and helped the gentleman on the bench, checking to see if he was okay until the ambulance workers arrived.  It was truly a lovely experience for the children to see Dennis, Officer Rose, and the EMTs all working together help a neighbor in need. 

It has been very meaningful for the children to develop relationships with people who are helping our city to be a great place to live and play.  There is little more that we can hope for than to see people in our community working together to help others, and to have the children be inspired to contribute to the community themselves. 

We will continue to learn a bit more about some of the people who help out in our city over the next couple of weeks!

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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