Our Elementary School is located in the Downtown section of Jersey City. We have 150 Pre-K students from a wide range of diverse ethnic backgrounds including children of Asian, African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander and Caucasian backgrounds. We have students in grade levels from Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade. In attempting to connect with the greater community, we are committed to providing all our of students an outstanding education and are driven by a desire to being inclusive while respecting diversity in a collaborative setting.
Exposing children to natural materials enjoys a rich researched based approach to facilitating a connection to the natural world. One of the most FUNdamentals materials is mud. Mixing soil, water and other natural materials like pebbles, leaves, sticks or grass provides endless possibilities for learning and fun. Scientists have now learned that soil contains microscopic bacteria called Mycobacterium Vaccae which stimulates the immune system and increases the levels of serotonin in our brains, an endorphin that soothes, calms and helps humans to relax.
Mud is an excellent medium for learning.
The same release of serotonin that occurs when playing in mud has also been shown to improve cognitive function. And the rich, engaging sensory play children partake in while playing with mud, allows them to express their creativity while enhancing their fine motor skills. Children practice social skills such as cooperation, negotiation, communication and sharing as they work together. Emergent math and science skills are practiced as children make comparisons, solve problems, test theories and measure and count ingredients for their various creations. This is the scientific process in action.
Mud is a wonderful art medium, opened ended, and is in ample supply. The open ended nature of mud encourages creative thinking and allows children to freely create without fear of making mistakes. This can be a rich medium for children to endlessly explore and can become an introduction to artists who work with natural materials such as Andy Goldsworthy, Heather Jansen Anna Garforth and many others. By providing time outdoors and the chance for muddy, messy play, teachers can facilitate a love for earth!
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