TULSA, Okla. — Some of Tulsa’s tiniest citizens are showing off their civic pride. “Never underestimate the brain of a kindergartener,” says Gina Jacober, Monte Cassino Kindergarten teacher.
And these six-year-old Sooners have some serious state knowledge. “Oklahoma is the heartland of America,” exclaims kindergartener Poppy. Classmate Ryker says, “Route 66 is the longest road. It goes 2,400 miles.”
Monte Cassino’s kindergarten has spent the school year piecing together its perspective of our city. Classmate Taylor says, “I would tell them Tulsa is a really fun place.”
These tiny hands are creating their own Tulsa with a Golden Driller and city skyline at sunset. They’re even authoring a Kid’s Guide to Tulsa. It’s a 120-page travel guide detailing places they’ve explored.
Jacober explains, “What they do is come back and do a little write-up about it. You should go by the Mother Road Market because they have mini-golf there. They write up about that, and we will separate that into sections and get our own little travel guide published.”
This is all part of a project-based learning experience. And on this day, that includes a once-in-a-lifetime recording session at the famed Church Studio. The kids are meeting up with Hot Toast Music Company’s Symon Hajjar.
“It’s a dream.. and I’m really honored to be part of it,” says Hajjar. They’ve spent the last few months together working on an original song about Tulsa.
Hajjar explains, “I brought toy pianos, bongos, and drums into their classroom. We had think tanks where we had conversations, and I captured video and recorded everything from that day with five classes of kindergarteners. Their melodies, their beats, their rhythms, their lyrics, things they were saying about Tulsa, I took those home and crafted the song that we’re recording today.”
In groups of five, the kids sing their hearts out. The catchy and clever tune called 918 touches on everything from the Arkansas river to Route 66.
“When I asked them what Tulsa really meant to them, what was their favorite part? The one thing that really struck me was when they mentioned their family and friends and that this is a nice place with nice people,” said Hajjar.
A community effort made this song happen. The Church Studio and the musicians all donated their time. A true gift said Jacober. “In this world where things get bogged down, it was the light. It was the rainbow in the clouds. How amazing you’re going to allow these kids to do this. What an experience for them and what great mentors for them to be able to do that!”
The kids will perform the song live and display all their Oklahoma work during an Exhibition of Learning for parents and the public in April.
That’s when hot toast music company will also release 918 on its website.
“I hope they see what can happen when they work hard at some things. When you work and sweat, you can create something amazing,” said Hajjar.
It’s a special year-long project, working to put these kindergartners and Oklahoma on the map.
“Learning can be fun and engaging. It doesn’t have to feel like work. There’s a lot you can learn from kindergarteners,” says Jacober.
The public is invited to check out Monte Cassino’s Exhibition of Learning on April 14. That’s also when you can expect to find 918, the song, released on Hot Toast Music Company’s website here: https://www.hottoastmusic.com/.
Look for this story and hear the recorded song revealed Thursday on 2 News Extra Edition at 6:30pm on 2 News Oklahoma.