Recently, some of the preschool students have been very engaged with the train set in their classroom. They have been enthusiastically building a variety of track formations and enjoy pulling and pushing long trains along the tracks. Often they are moving them in opposing directions and making them crash!
In addition, they discovered the turning station and have spent some time discussing how to use it.
They also started using stop signs and experimented with placing them at different points along the track. The signs have been very popular, though, and everybody wanted to use them along their own tracks. Thus, they were often taken and moved from one place to another, and as you can imagine, this caused some frustration!
Interestingly, as the play has continued, the children began discussing their choices more openly and are now collaborating to build a larger track. As a part of creating the class' essential agreements,' the group is talking about the importance of sharing the tracks and trains.
When asked how long they thought they could make the track, one student proceeded to piece together as many of the track pieces as he could, weaving them between and under the chairs. This excited the group, and they began working together, eagerly exploring the new lengths of track for their trains.
When they saw some of the track joints made it difficult for trains to pass, they worked together to solve the problem. They began to place the ever-popular stop signs at points along the track, too. But instead of the students taking the signs for themselves as they did earlier, they communicated and collaborated to ensure there were signs in all the places they wanted! Thus, they secured the safety of all the imaginary passengers on their trains!
This is the evolution of learning, drawn from the world of play and imagination, that takes place at the NIS ELC building every single day. It is child-centered and child-led. But this is only the beginning of the train saga...stay tuned for more episodes...