Our Journey with the Trains : Little Kinder

March 17, 2016

Shared Learning and Exploration

Children found a train set on one of the shelves and asked the teacher if they could play with it. From here we started our investigation about trains and how they help us. Initially the play with trains was just about making a straight track and going to and fro exploring the movement of the wheels on the track. Children crashed the trains into each other on the track as they moved in a straight line trying to find ways to create a better track. Gradually children discovered the other components related to it like the sounds of the trains, purpose of a railway station, a station master etc.

This led to the creation of a new set up for learning where children guided each other to form a round track so they could follow the trains without crashing into them. The teachers extended on children’s knowledge about the trains by introducing vocabulary like wagons, carriages, boom gates etc to facilitate learning. We asked children what they liked about the trains and they shared their interest about making bridges and playing with the tracks. We further explored about why we need bridges and if children have been on trains before. Adam shared his experience of going on a train to the city and we asked children what a city looks like.

Kyle: I saw trains in the city

Adam: The trains go quickly

Nathan: There is helicopter in the city

Kyle: There is trams in the city too.

We looked at some pictures of cities and invited children to share their ideas about it.

Adam: I see fireworks (referring to lights in the building)

Nathan: This is Lego (pointing to the picture of buildings)

Kyle: There is big giant houses.

The teacher introduced the term buildings.

Teacher: Can you see big buildings.

Nathan: There is big boats.

Kyle: That’s a bridge.

Teacher: Why do we need a bridge?

Kyle: You walk over it.

Nathan: So people don’t fall in water. If they fall in water, helicopters have to rescue people.

Teacher: Who makes bridges?

Nathan: A builder, they use bricks.

Christina: He’s got a hammer to fix it

Children then started building a city with wooden blocks and drove with toy trucks and cars around it. We encouraged children to verbally communicate their ideas to create a city. Children started adding train stations, train depots, tunnels, bridges and building around the railway track to further build the city. As we asked children what they see in a city they answered:

Kyle: I see a fast train. I see a yellow line at the train station. We need a tunnel.

Stacy: We need a black train

Kyle: We need cars. We need signs, I see a red sign. It says stop.

The teacher suggested drawing a map for the city and we talked about the significance of maps. Children asked the teacher to draw railway tracks, train stations, traffic lights and signs, tunnels and roads on the map. Aidan, Adam and Nathan asked the teacher to draw a bridge, ships and boats in the city as they contributed to the discussion.

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Sharing is caring

Children learnt to negotiate and share resources whilst engaging in this shared play experience. We started with children getting upset about the colours of the trains they got or the number of tracks they had to build. Gradually children learnt that it was easier to build a big track together and then play with it. Initially we gave children just the tracks and gave them the trains once they had finished creating a track. Children worked collaboratively and more effectively as they had a common outcome to achieve and later engaged in shared pretend play. This experience has showed us how we share and care for others.

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Kyle, Adam and Nathan showed interest in exploring about tunnels and discovered different ways to create a tunnel. They used wooden blocks around the tracks pretending it to be a big tunnel, added tracks on the top of the bridge to cover it and used some cardboard tubes as tunnels. We looked at some videos and pictures about tunnels to help children build on their knowledge. Children shared their ideas as they investigated about the tunnels:

Teacher: What is it like inside the tunnel?

Adam: It’s too dark, we need light, so you can see.

Gihad: Some tunnels are dark, some tunnels have lights.

Adam: My hand is not dark but my hair is too dark.

Aidan: It’s dark inside my mouth.

Adam: My eyes are dark.

Kyle: It’s very scary inside the dark.

Children will continue to develop their knowledge about trains and city structures through inquiry and exploration over the next term.

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