Reggio Inspired Train Exploration
Over the past 9 months, we have been engaged in an ongoing exploration of trains. (Their stamina for this topic is seemingly endless!) You may have noticed our various train adventures (such as here and here), our book list (a second is in the making), and the occasional train drawing prompts. We have various train toys (Brio trains, a train sorter, train puzzles, etc) but I've been most excited lately to discover train creations that have been made with various three dimensional mixed media and loose materials.
Their numerous trains have been built of their own initiative. Indeed, our many adventures and dialogues certainly have focused a lot of their interest in trains, but their activities in this area continue to be child led and parent/teacher supported - not directed. In both our play space and our art space our environments have been set up to encourage and support these investigations.
Here are some tips for setting up your environment;
In the art area:
Have a range of open ended materials available. I tried to envision what materials could potentially be used to create trains. On our shelves, along with the usual drawing tools and paper, we have recently had;
Tube shaped noodles
In our building area:
Here it is important to have a solid building surface and lots of space. Typically we just build on the floor, but we have occasionally built on a board to allow creations to be saved longer. On the wall in our building area there are framed pictures from trains we have seen or ridden on and in a nearby basket there is a collection of train books. In baskets on the floor we have recently had;
Blocks in varying shapes and sizes
Given access to a wide variety of open ended materials, it is wonderful to see the creativity of expression that follows. Once the environment is prepared, above all else, your job is to give them time and space to wonder, explore, and create. Observe their process, document this process and their creations, and engage them in dialogue. From these observations, you can consider ways to tweak or add to the environment to further engage their learning. Their enthusiasm hasn't waned yet and I'm excited to see where it takes us next!
Listed Throughout the Post in Italics
*What is your child fascinated by right now? How do you encourage their interests? We'd love to hear your thoughts!
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