Today we had a special guest. Abby, DH’s mom, is an art therapist and teacher. She came in to share a story and project that she did with her students.
She joined us for morning circle and read the book, The Tomten. This story is based on the Scandinavian folklore about a small elf/gnome-like creature who wanders around at night checking in on all the animals, children and grown-ups. The only evidence he leaves is tiny footprints in the snow. The tomten whispers in the ears of cows, horses, and sheep about the passing of the seasons and the promise of spring pastures and grains. He reminds us all that, “Winters come and winters go.” A wonderful reminder on this blustery cold day.
Abby’s heritage is Norwegian and she told us that in Norway they call the Tomten, a “Nisse.” And CS, who’s family is Finnish, informed us that in Finland they are called a “Tonttu.” Tomten is the Swedish name. We talked about how this little creature lives with, loves and helps take care of all the animals and people.
Abby then led an appointment during explore time, where each younger child had a chance to make a Tomten of their own. They used markers, paint, cotton swabs, and small logs to fashion their little mythical humanoids. The olders came in from the cold halfway through explore time and had a chance to work on Tomtens, as well.
Abby has graciously left her materials and storybook with us for the week, so this project will be an offering to other children who did not get a chance to make one today. Thanks so much for the visit, Abby! It is always fun to weave new folklore and mythology into our preschool classroom. No doubt the Tomten, Nisse and Tonttu have now entered the collective imagination at Tulip Tree.