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.
We put on our scientist hats to explore some mysteriously wrapped lumps. We first explored how they felt, smelled and what they sounded like when we touched them. We had many predictions of what might be inside the mysterious packages- bread? a sponge? a rock?
What is it?
Hugo: A rock
Beatrix: A sponge
Astrid: I don’t know. Does it smell like a sponge?
Quinn: It feels like dirt.
Tara: I’m really good at this. Dried play-doh.
Roman: It smells like bread.
Meher: Honey bread
After opening the wrappings, we discovered owl pellets! We worked in small groups to sort through the fur and bones that owls spit out after eating their prey whole. We used a chart to hypothesize what creatures and part of the body these bones came from. We will continue discussing food webs, and how living creatures are connected within an ecosystem.
Roman: There will be blood!
Hugo: It’s hard. There are different kinds of bones and different kinds of things. I found a nail. Does it [the owl] drink the blood? I found a bone. I found one from a mole.
Tara: I found another bone! These are full of bones.
Eva: I just love digging and pulling.
Stella: This is so exciting. Is it alive? It’s better if you put it like this so you can see. I found a lot of bones.
Roman: We’re scientists. I like it. What animal is it from?
After we had completed our explorations, we shared further about what we found.
What did you find?
Hugo: Nails, teeth, bones
Celeste: I found a claw.
Astrid: I found two hip bones.
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: https://vimeo.com/240773305
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.
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.
Trollskogen has been exploring the idea of our community from the first days of school. As we begin to focus in on our umbrella project- Transformation: beyond our walls, Trollskogen has been expanding our definitions of who and what belong in our community.
Who is a part of our community?
Bea- My mom
Meher- and my Mom!
Quinn- My parents, my grandparents
Roman- My Dad, he helps dead people
Celeste-The Mayor, he takes care of the city
Bea- No the world
Celeste- I saw him once
So we have a community at home, Who is a part of our school community?
Astrid- and we have to thank Manija really because it’s a lot of work and she usually works all alone
Roman- Helpers help people that need helpers like police and firefighters and doctors
Is Ms. Martha? (our bus driver)
Roman-Yeah everybody is!
Astrid-the Mailman too
What does our community need?
Eva- Our community needs niceness
Tara- love and care, it doesn’t need pushing or not caring
Celeste- to grow new trees
Eva- Once my Dad gave a poor lady money, for real he did that
Tara- My mom helps the community because she helps people get homes and jobs and food if they need it and she takes care of cats
Bea- Does my mom?
Hugo-Does my Dad?
A lot of our parents help the community, how can we help our community ?
Celeste- Give clothing to people who were in floods
Eva- Taking care of cats at the community garden
Hugo- Taking care of trash and putting it in the garbage
Astrid- Being kind to our moms
Eva- Being kind to our friends
Roman-make sure everyone has food
We will next consider what we can contribute to our community, and how we can put our ideas into action as community members.
In preparation for International Children’s Day, we began our “rights” and read We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures. We asked,
What rights do you think you and all people should have?
Celeste: To help people if they are sick
Meher: Water to drink
Quinn: To help people be alive
Eva: Be nice to your friends and family
Santiago: Drink water
Tara: Do jobs and care about people
Beatrix: Help disabled people cross the road
Astrid: Being kind to friends
Hugo: Take care of the United States
Roman: Everybody has a house, so we need a fire department
Phoebe: Being kind, having water and having milk to grow
As a outdoor based program, we decided to focus in on the rights of the child to leisure, and to play outside. We considered, Why is playing outdoors important for us?
Celeste- Fresh air, play time
Santi-Climb up trees
Eva- Having nature around us
Meher-run around and playing and splashing
Roman- Being loud instead of being quiet inside
Tara- Because they get strong and healthy and have space to run outside and get better at running and get fresh air
We created signs voicing the rights we feel all children should have, and prepared for our Candle Manifestation held in Hamilton Park. On November 21, the eve of Thanksgiving, We joined the many countries that acknowledge and celebrate the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child through a candlelight manifestation in Hamilton Park. We were joined by our school community, many alumni families and other families from across Jersey City. We spoke about children’s rights and heard from current students and alumni- valuing and celebrating their perspectives. We ended the evening with a little meditation from our very own teacher Jennifer- something our children practice on a daily basis. It was a heartfelt and so very important evening, with messages that honored our children’s rights and voices.
This month, Lonneberga and Trollskogen took a trip to Governor’s Island adventure playground! Gov Island’s Play:groundNYC encourages risk-taking, experimentation and freedom through self directed play. Adults are encouraged to sit back and observe while young people to take the lead in their own explorations. We were so excited to visit a playscape with a mission so aligned with our own. They have loose materials available for jumping, climbing, sawing, building and destroying. While the materials available may not seem child-accessible, our children had no hesitations playing the piano, peddling on an old exercise bike or balancing on seesaw suspended above a big puddle. Interacting with household items in a new way brought so much joy and energy to the children. Jumping on the mattress was one of the most popular activities within the adventure playground, while others enjoying making their own structures from all the available tools.
The first adventure playground was the creation of Danish landscape architect C.T. Sørenson. His vision of ‘waste material playgrounds in large areas where children would be able to play with old cars, boxes, and timber’ succeeded in 1940s’ Denmark, and has spread around the world since. The materials available at Play:groundNYC captivated the attention of our four through six year olds for two hours, and most agreed they would have liked to stay for much longer. Towards the end of our visit, some children discovered that there was a ladder they could use to jump from the top of a fort onto a mattress! Some were tentative about the idea of jumping from such a height, but by the end of the day were eager to go around and around. Our summer forest program will be visiting Play:groundNYC again during our summer session, and we highly recommend visiting during their free play hours on weekends from 12-4.
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.
Trollskogen on Wheels! Our Forest kindergarteners explore bikes, scooters, and skateboards.Read More
What do our Forest Kindergarteners do when the temperature drops?Read More
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!
What do we do outside? Come find out!Read More
How does our outdoor play support development? Come find out!Read More
Here are some pictures from today's forest adventures.Read More
We are further developing our outdoor program with our Pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten class spending their school day at Jersey City Reservoir No. 3.Read More