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The Train is a Comin' OH YEAH!

Following children's interests in early childhood music education

#whereisthelearning in the Train Song?

“The Train Song” is the children’s nick name for The Train is a comin’ based on traditional negro spiritual attributed to Lincolnia C Morgan.

Many of our little friends (like Freddy pictured) delight in singing the Train is a comin’ and especially in hearing Lynda’s real-life train whistle. We often end up sharing stories about our train rides on Puffing Billy and Thomas the Tank Engine, watching the sky rail being built or even how many toy “Thomas” trains we have. Girls and boys alike LOVE trains.

We have many children who go and find an identical train whistle to Lynda's or dress up in their train outfits to sing along. It shows how engaged children can be if only we follow their interests and not what we think is best for them. When we follow a child's interests, we honour the child. This not only helps them to trust us as their educator, it gives them the opportunity to teach us something too. Perhaps a child has had a "train" experience that we have never thought of? Sometimes the simple act of singing a simple song can trigger these conversations. Our job is to keep the conversation going.

Here are some of the other Learning Outcomes achieved by teaching and learning The Train Song.

  • Introduces children to a new musical genre namely Negro Spiritual and an appreciation of a capella singing which is a trade mark of All The Doo Dah Day

  • Teaches musical concepts of fast and slow as we make “chugga chugga” rhythms at different tempos

  • Extends children’s concept of rhythm through the chanting of “chugga chugga”

  • Connects the sounds of the train to movement as the children move like a train and helps with the pronunciation of a difficult phoneme being "ch"

  • Works on gross motor skill development as the children move their arms in circles by their sides mimicking train wheels.

There are also many Opportunities for Extension when teaching and learning this song.

  • Ask the children: have you ever been on a steam train? Tell me about it. (Share your own experiences of Puffing Billy for example)

  • Ask the children: How do you think a steam train runs? This can lead to a scientific exploration!

  • Sing some other train songs together eg: Morningtown Ride or the Thomas the Tank Engine Theme

  • Ask the children: how do you think we could build a train? Then build one together!

  • Explore Bullet Trains or TGV’s with the children. This can make for a wonderful introduction to the science concepts of force, speed, acceleration amongst many other things.

The Train Song appears on Volume 1 of our Lynda@Home Video Series. Choo Choo!

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