documentationReggio EmiliaTigerlily Preschool

Learning to document children’s learning (Part 2)

Marie Catrett’s story continues, documenting the conversations, activities, and discoveries of Elias and his friends at Tigerlily Preschool as they explore the world of trains. (If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.)

Marie: We are on a trip today to visit the train station. Could we take a look at your suitcase?
Woman at the station: Sure.
Nayeli: Does yours have a bar that goes up? For pulling?
Woman at the station: Yes.
Marie: Do you think we could see?
Woman at the station: Okay. (She raises up her handle.)
Nayeli: Like mine!


[Click the play button below to listen to the sounds of the train station!]

Elias (Delighted) It’s the train! The Amtrak train! Look at those tracks.
Nayeli: I see the actual train.
Elias: Is it the 107 train?
Marie: You know, it has a number on it right here actually. One-one-four, this is the 114 train.
Nayeli: Headlights! Here are two headlights and another headlight and then two more.
Elias: The train was blowing its horn.
Emerson: ‘Member I saw a locomotive. I said hi to the train!
Marie: Did it make a noise?
Emerson: I was worried. Went chhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Marie: A big noise?
Emerson: A- CHOOOOOOOO CHOOOOOOOO! Maked noise! It made a big noise! A- CHOOOOOOOO CHOOOOOOO! It was a passenger train. A Amtrak train (is a) passenger train. Saw locomotives!

Our first visit to the station. Elias is interested but cautious: he wants to be held by mom during our time there.

Nayeli: She has a suitcase and a pillow! She brought a pillow to sleep with!
Emerson: (The passengers) Went inside to go to sleep on the train. Need to wake up. Snoring. They were snoring.
Elias: Going to have dinner! They’re going to have dinner together in the dining car! Ding ding ding ding!

Back at school, train songs have become part of our song list, and we sing them often, at the children’s request.

Elias: Sing “Engine Number Nine”!

Engine, Engine Number Nine
Going down Chicago Line
If the train should jump the track
Do you want your money back?
Yes? No? Maybe so!


Marie: (Talking to Elias when he selects his Legos) What kind of train will you play today?
Elias: It’s a commuter train. It wants to go to the airport. The train wants to take people to Pei Wei (restaurant).

Elias: The train is coming out of the train station. See, it’s an Amtrak train. Bye bye train! Mmmmmm-mmmmmm (making the sound of the train horn).
Willa: (Running up) I want to come to the train station!
Marie: Oh, maybe you will be an Amtrak train?
Willa: First I need to get far away.
Marie: Maybe we will hear your horn.


Emerson decides to make a train out of clay.

Emerson: Make a track. Tank car, tank car! Make a freight car. Make the freight on it. Make a track . . .


Elias, Nayeli, and Wyatt build vehicles together.

Elias: And big ones, and big ones! (Jumping up with excitement) Are those trains ready? They’re going pretty fast!

Stay tuned for Part 3, coming June 23.

© Marie Catrett

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button