The Wheels on the Bus (A Learning Story)

When you think about what a learning environment looks like the inside of a city bus is not likely to immediately pop into your mind. However, because children are so intrinsically motivated to learn any space can hold thousands of new discoveries. Today I took the time to slow down and really observe all of the learning that takes place on what, to most people, would appear the most mediocre part of our excursions.

Recognizing Numbers

Before we board the bus we have to figure out which one is the right one! We all take some time to look at the number of the bus we are waiting for on the map, then we identify it together when the buses arrive at the stop (4.5 Representing Numbers, ELECT).

Following Directions

The children at Red River ELC have had lots of practice boarding the bus because it is one of our main means of transportation for field trips. They are able to understand and follow oral directions (3.6 Listening to Others, ELECT), with a few reminders, and do a great job finding a seat and making safe choices when we travel together.
While the younger children sit in the stroller for the trip their older peers climb on to the bus independently and pick out “big kid spots.” There are a few rules to follow (sit close to the teacher, for example) but they are able to make choices which gives the big kids an opportunity to express their growing independence and practice self-care skills which nurtures a sense of well-being and self-esteem.

Being a Leader

Children that are a little bit older help to support their younger peers who have just begun to ride the bus by holding their hands and guiding them as they choose a seat (1.4 Helping Skills, ELECT); this fosters a sense of belonging and builds positive relationships between the children. The big kids feel so proud that they can support their little friends and help to ensure they are safe on our trip.

Interacting Positively

When we ride the bus we get to interact with other members of the broader local community. The bus drivers are always excited to welcome my little crew on board and the children make lots of friends as they chat with other passengers. “Through opportunities to engage with and make contributions to the world around them, children develop a sense of belonging and connectedness to their local community, the natural environment, and the larger universe of living things.” (How Does Learning Happen)

Wondering and Asking Questions

We have lots of questions during our trips; we wonder how many stops until we get to where we are going? We measure time when we ask how long the trip will take. What is the name of our stop? Why are the roads so bumpy?

… and those are just a few ways the children engage in learning during our transit trip from one place to the next! Who would have thought that my little friends could turn a bus into a classroom?