Lincoln Park winter explorations

We had a wonderful week enjoying the warm weather, and expressing ourselves through many different mediums. In lieu of a written newsletter this week, here is a peak of our week in Trollskogen.

Last week in Trollskogen

We had a wonderful week full of exploration and extreme weather!

Tuesday we started the day with some yoga to warm up our bodies and minds. After picking our jobs, we discovered the backyard had been transformed by ice! The ice had formed frozen sand cakes that were perfect for celebrating and imaginary play. In the afternoon we investigated Hugo's book of the body and extended our yoga practice into rest time. We also revisited John Dunstan's film about the wild life at Liberty State Park. After watching, we were determined to look for the rabbits, muskrats, possums that John Dunstan had seen on his trips there. Check it out here:

Wednesday we headed to LSP and were excited to see ice on our path to the pond. The tiny puddles were fun to slip and slide over and crack with a hammer. The pond itself was frozen solid as well! We tested its strength with rocks, wood, and branches. We used a long rope to retrieve the materials we had tossed onto the pond, and later used it to play 'web of life'. In this game each player takes the role of a different plant or animal in an ecosystem, and sees how they rely on each other. Working with rope encourages teamwork, collaboration and communication. In the afternoon we worked with Manija to create aromatherapy dough and continued adding to our stories. 

Thursday we braved the weather and observed the big waves crashing over the rocks where we usually play on the jetties. We zipped down the slides at the park and played elbow tag and triangle together. This type of weather encourages our children to work together and take care of each other. In the afternoon we worked hard on sand mandalas with Anya during our Atelier time. 

Friday we discussed how kind thoughts and words can effect everything- even water. We shared a story from The Hidden Messages in Water, which shows how frozen water crystalizes differently when kind messages are directed towards them. We carried this sentiment through the day as we reflected and completed our work in the classroom, atelier, and park. We used our water thermometer on different water samples and compared these to the temperature outside. We also learned some paper sculpture techniques from Anya, and created a healing hand salve with Jenny! So much productive work and energy throughout the week extended to personal projects and collaborative music making and play. It is wonderful to see Trollskogen continue to bond and grow as a group. 

Jersey Cares Coat Drive

In continuation of our focus on acting as community helpers, Trollskogen played a big role in our school wide coat drive. We counted, sorted, and folded the coats when they were ready for donation.

 We were surprised to find out that one of our outdoor classrooms was a drop off location for the drive, and we were able to drop off the coats in a big shipping container. The children were excited that we knew the secret code to open the container, and were amazed by how many coats were inside. Many wanted to jump in the big fluffy pile of coats. We decided that if others put as much work into folding and sorting their collections as we did, we might not want to do so. Good work Trollskogen! Thank you to Jersey Cares for organizing and opportunity to share with those in need. 

Fort Day


On Saturday, several members of Trollskogen and their families came together to start working on the seaglass mosaic on the backyard's fort. Trollskogen students have been collecting pieces of sea glass and tiles from nearby parks for months, and were able to design how these pieces would come together on the fort. 

We also planted some English Ivy to cascade down from the top of the fort. Trollskogen students painted the planters, and planted the ivy and donated plants into the boxes. These boxes will hang over the top of the fort. Trollskogen will continue to work on this project for the duration of the school year, and is looking forward to the final result! Thank you to everyone who was able to come by and contribute to the mosaic. 

Liberty State Park

We have been exploring Liberty State Park throughout December to develop an appreciation and awareness of the natural beauty Jersey City has to offer. Within Liberty State park we have found meaningful spaces to climb, run, build, roll, dig, and play.

Some of the group’s favorite spots include the “train tracks” outside the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. They can practice balancing on the preserved rail tracks, and get a closer look at something that is usually off limits to explore. They also love climbing the train cars themselves; This space offers ample opportunity for imaginary play and outlets for big body expression. Children feel an extreme sense of pride when they are able to climb up the train independently, and are eager to help their friends up as well.

We have also been taking the opportunity to develop our fire building skills! We have experimented with different fire starting strategies and materials. We began by gathering tinder, kindling and fuel found on the rocks and in tree floor. Dead twigs and leaves help us get the fire going and act as wonderful tinder. We looked for pieces as thick as a pencil and longer than our outstretched hand. Next we found small sticks no thicker than a thumb and as long as our forearms to use as kindling. We knew we had enough when we had a generous armload. For fuel, we salvaged large pieces of driftwood. We have discussed how to safely move around a fire, and how we can put a fire out before leaving. Building fires keeps us warm and can hold the attention of several children for a long period of time.

Even after a month of exploration there is still so much left to see within Liberty State Park. This Thursday, Trollskogen will visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty!


Forest Kindergarten

We are further developing our outdoor program with our Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten class spending their school day at Jersey City Reservoir No. 3.

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