Choo! Choo! All Aboard! In the month of August, on a beautiful, breezy, and overcast day, children and families from all of Ka Pa‘alana’s preschool sites boarded the train at the Hawaiian Railway Society’s for a 45-minute ride out to Kalaeloa and back as part of our Transportation theme for the month.
Many of our families didn’t know that a train station (or a train ride) existed in our state. Our families boarded the train in excitement and amazement. As we loaded onto the open air box cars the conductor explained that we will huli (turn) in our seats by walking clockwise to the opposite side of the box car when we reach the end because there was no turn around point for the train. She explained that the train engine would push the box cars on the first part of the ride then pull the box cars back to the train station.
The conductor gave a brief history of trains in Hawai‘i and explained some rules. She then blew the whistle two times which was the signal for all clear and we were off rolling on the train tracks. The children’s eyes bulged and they clung onto their caregiver’s arm at first but soon began feeling comfortable as we listened and danced to Eddie Kamae and the Sons of Hawai‘i song Ka‘a Ahi Kahului. She explained that the song talked about the first train in Hawai‘i which was on the island of Maui in Kahului and that the Hawaiians called the train “Shuku-Shuku.” The families kicked back and enjoyed the scenery of the Makakilo hill tops and the Ewa Plains.
On the way back to the station we sang more train songs and some of our children were surprised to hear one of their favorites, “The Little Red Caboose.” The day ended with a nice lunch back at the train station.