Transportation Curriculum: Slow TV

Slow TV is a big hit in my cooperative living space. We once watching Slow TV for multiple hours without realizing it. It is calming, and peaceful.

For those who aren’t familiar with Slow TV, it is simply live recordings of various things: a train ride, a scuba dive, a ski lift, etc. I thought it was something my kids that are into transportation would be into, so I set up a studio visit to watch Slow TV while offering up a variety of loose parts. What I liked about this visit was the openness of it. Because I have been working closely with my project group, I have focused less on the transportation curricular thread. While I know it is still a huge interest, I am not sure where exactly everybody is in their interest; is it still about the social aspect of travel? Has it shifted to be more about the mechanics of transportation? Has it evolved into richer pretend play scenarios? I was hoping this provocation would give me some insight into their current thinking.

O: Is the floor moving?

H: It’s the tracks!

A: It’s stopped.

H: It coming!

N: Here it comes!

A: The train is coming!

H and O start to sing, “The train is coming, a coming, oh yes.”

O: Here it comes over the mountain.

N: Up the mountain peak.

H: Here comes the train, chugga chugga. (sing-song voice)

It was around then that the train stopped at a station. A bit further up there were a few people standing on the track.

H: It’s making a sound. It’s coming! People don’t go!

N: Don’t go go!

H: Go now.

N: Go go go!

H: I’m pretending we are lookers. Looking if the train is coming. It’s coming soon! I can see the track of the train.

They then dived into the loose parts and creating various storylines, mainly independently though borrowing ideas from each other.

O: This is my library stuff I’m packing in my box. These are for the museum some are for the library but I’m going to the museum library to buy some books.

A: Going to the library!

O: I am at the library Cynthia, this is a sign, it says, “Caution don’t sit on the toilet sit on the potty.”

H: This sign says no crossing Dingos.

O: Can I get on the train to get out of town?

A: This is the bus, it’s going to my house.

O: This is the train and I’m the driver, my train is going to Cynthia’s house but it’s at Anika’s house right now.

N: My train at your house. I go to your house on the bus. You want to come with me? We board. Now we ride the train. Come on, we need to go to the library.


Their play started to join together and they won’t themselves all on a table by the window.

O: Oh we on the train, we on the train, oh what fun it is to ride on the train. (sing song voice)

N: I need a buckle.

A: I got my buckle.

H: I want to be buckled on the train and play my banjo.

Their attention then returned to the stream, as a long train on an opposite track drove by.

H: See you train. See you later. Bye train. That was a good video, I hear another one.

N: The track is so long. So so long. THere is the trains!

O: There is the train?

It has been awhile since I have watched a long transportation based play. It is clear how much their speech has advanced in the last few months, and their ability to build upon their ideas. They freely took on ideas from the play of others, and much of what they included in their play are inside jokes or a nod to other current interests, such as performing and libraries.

I plan on projecting the Slow TV into the classroom soon, as I am curious what this would turn into with the other half of the class there as well. They like to use bear blocks and the general gross motor area in their transportation play, so I am curious how this video could enhance that space. 




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