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“Why are There a Bunch of Statues in the World?”

March 31, 2021 | Kristen Jordan

The Trees Class has continued to be very excited by statues!  

Last week, we went on a short walking trip (around a block) to view statues in yards in Hoboken.  While out exploring, we were lucky enough to have the owner of a house pop out and share with us why he has many of his statues.  His comments confirmed for the children, some of the ideas they have been holding about statues: that some statues are there to help remember someone or something (He has a statue of Mary, which was also his mother’s name, and a gift to her, and meaningful to his family) and some statues get put up just because people like them (many of his other statues were there just because he likes them–the gargoyles).  

We were also able to consider the difference between statues and decorations since there were many Easter decorations mixed in with his statues!  

Today, one child requested that we go take another look at the statue of Mr. Marconi and children noticed a few new things.  Then we walked around the back of Our Lady of Grace Church and saw the statue of Jesus on the Cross, with three women praying.  It was meaningful for the children to see this statue as we had just heard the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection during worship.  They really noticed details in the gestures and thought very carefully about what was happening in the statue.  Lucien observed, “I think they are sad because they are watching Jesus.”  Eliza wondered, “Maybe it’s Mary and the other Mary” (Mary Magdalene).  Chryssa thought, “Maybe it’s Martha.”  Trixie considered, “Maybe it’s Joseph.”  Children were connecting their knowledge of other stories they’ve heard to what they were seeing.  

The children have continued to learn about the Statue of Liberty, how it was constructed and what it is made out of.  Patton noted, “Statues are heavy” after learning about some of the materials that they are constructed with.  We also discussed the difference between a statue and a sculpture (statues usually depict a person or living creature, while a sculpture can just be a design.)  

Children have made statues in drawing, paint, and clay.  They have done observational artwork as well as creating their own designs.

Aren’t their clay statues amazing?!

Some key concepts that have been developed are that statues need to be stable so they remain standing.  Children have used their knowledge of statues in other areas.  They are working on stabilizing their own bodies as they pose like statues. 

In the park, when we happened upon a stump, it became a pedestal for “The Statue of Squishalees”, as Elli aptly named the statue! 

Children have practiced building a strong pedestal in blocks, and used stabilizing blocks and connectors to support their block structures.  Each experimented with building a strong structure, with a solid foundation. Then each child shared his or her building and explained how they made it strong and stable. Chryssa commented to one friend, “I like your foundation.  It looks really strong!”

This has been a study that has been engaging and interesting.  Children have been excited and noticing new things in their immediate surroundings.  They have been able to express their learning through conversation, questions, exploration, movement, and artwork in many mediums.  

When Chryssa wondered, “Why are there a bunch of statues in the world?”, Ezra replied, “Because we can remember some of the greatness that people did.” 

Kristen Jordan

Teacher, Trees 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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