Sunday, May 25, 2014

Preschool and school train programs in 2014

May 20 marked the final day of School Train for 2014. This year the Museum hosted two full days of Preschool Train on April 29 and 30, and four days of School Train in April and May. The Preschool Train program is designed for children age 3-5. The School Train program is designed for grade 4, with a separate program for younger students and mixed-aged groups.

In 2014, 605 preschool children and adults attended the two day Preschool Train program. 631 children and adults attended the School Train program. So a total of 1236 people participated in the 6 days of educational programming this spring. In 2014 a large number of School Train participants were from small private schools, although there were attendees from the Federal Way, Renton, Lake Washington school districts. School Train is also popular with families that home school and this year was no exception.

School Train activities included a history intense grade 4 program, where students study primary source documents (census data and historic photographs) to learn about Valley life in 1890 and how the railroad changed everything here in the Pacific Northwest. Younger students and mixed-age groups were rotated thru three short activities that included Signs and Signals (all about ways we communicate with trains), a docent-led Depot tour, and a fun craft (decorate your own bandana) that doubled as a take-home. Students enjoyed coloring the bandanas while the educator enjoyed making the students first explain the historic role of bandanas on the railway. The program concluded with a 60 minute journey upon the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad, wherein students follow in the footprints of history, riding the same rails as those who traveled by train to the Snoqualmie Valley in the 1890s.

The Preschool Train program is similar, in that it includes rotation thru short age-appropriate activities followed by a 35 minute long train ride. (Preschool train is a 90 minute program whereas School Train is a 2 hour program.)
A special thanks to all the volunteer docents who helped with this educational programming, and to the running trades volunteers who operated the train!

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