Learning Experience: Trains


Learning Experience: Trains
The play leader’s reflections
We felt this was a really
worthwhile learning experience.
The children showed great interest
in trains and enjoyed imaginative play
with their cardboard train for several
weeks after it was made.
Learning Experience:
Setting: Rathcoole Playschool, Rathcoole,
Co. Cork
Setting type: Sessional
Age group: Young children
Theme: Exploring and Thinking
The children’s vocabulary
around the topic of trains increased,
for example timetable, passenger train, freight
train, passenger, conductor. Some children
were very familiar with these words while others
were not so we had to make a special effort
to use them until everyone was familiar
with them.
This learning experience is an example
of how one service supports one of
the learning goals in Aistear’s theme of
Exploring and Thinking.
The Cork to Dublin train passes our play
school every day and because of this trains
are of great interest to the children. They
play a lot of train games and so one day we
asked the children if they would like to make
a train. They were thrilled with the idea. We
decided to use cardboard boxes to make
the train and we painted it blue because
Thomas the Tank Engine is a blue train.
We are now very
tuned in to the times
that the train passes and
often go out to wave.
Early Childhood Ireland
Hainault House
Belgard Square
Dublin 24
Tel: +353 1 405 7100
Fax: +353 1 405 7109
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.earlychildhoodireland.ie
National Council
for Curriculum and
24 Merrion Square
Dublin 2
Tel: +353 1 661 7177
Fax: +353 1 661 7180
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: www.ncca.ie
Learning goal 3: In partnership with the
adult, children will use their experience
and information to explore and develop
working theories about how the world
works, and think about how and why
they learn things.
Using cardboard boxes to make the train
We left the train to dry overnight and the
next day we talked about the things that
happen on the train. People need tickets,
said Lilly so the children made tickets and
used toy money to board the train. The
conductor collects the tickets and the
waiter delivers tea to the passengers on
board! said Leanne. My mom bought a
sandwich on a train once, said Cathal. The
train driver drives the train on the railway
tracks, said Maurice.
This resource was developed through the Aistear in Action initiative.
Aim 1: Children will develop and use
skills and strategies for observing,
questioning, investigating, understanding,
negotiating, and problem-solving, and
come to see themselves as explorers
and thinkers.
This resource was developed through the Aistear in Action initiative.
The children acted out things the
passengers do while on board the train
like reading and talking on their phones.
All aboard!
Serving the tea on the train
Taking an important call
Another day we talked to the children
about the trains that pass outside the
playschool. We decided to check the train
times on the internet timetable and made
a note of each time the train passes the
One morning we went outside to look at the
train as it passed during school time. We
talked about the flashing red lights that are
at the level crossing and how important it
is to always follow the rules of the road to
keep ourselves safe.
We wondered about the people on the train
and where they might be going and why.
We talked to the children about passenger
trains and freight trains and what these
terms meant.
Catching up on some news during the trip
We continue to provide the children
with train puzzles, music and books to
enhance their knowledge of trains.
Ideas to extend
the children’s learning
Plan a trip on a real train with
Provide picture and factual books
on trains.
Organise small group activities
where children get the opportunity
to use the new train-related
vocabulary again, for example train
art, train games, small world play.
Learn a new song or nursery rhyme
about trains.
This experience also links to:
Identity and Belonging, Aim 2, Learning goals 5 and 6
Communicating, Aim 3, Learning goals 2 and 5
This resource was developed through the Aistear in Action initiative.
This resource was developed through the Aistear in Action initiative.

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