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“Train to Maine” Illustrator Visits Local Preschoolers

Children enrolled in Midcoast Children’s Services Spirals summer preschool program at the MacDougal School in Rockland received a visit and a signed book on August 13th from “Train to Maine” illustrator Rebecca Reed and special guest Conductor Justin.

“Train to Maine” was written by Jamie Spencer and illustrated with scenes of the journey from Boston to Portland on the Amtrak Downeaster by Reed. In addition to reading the book to the MCCS students, Reed also showed the children how she creates the pictures for her projects and worked with them on their own illustrations for their special “Train to Maine” luggage labels. With the help of Conductor Justin, Reed also made sure that each child (and also the teachers) received a train engineer’s cap and a signed copy of her book.

Reed’s visit to the MacDougal School classroom was part of a week of railroad-themed activities. The day prior, the children had visited the Rockland train station as guests of the Maine Eastern Railroad, where they toured a train and met the conductor. Following their visit to the station, the children had stopped in at Planet Toy on Rockland’s Main Street to receive gifts of “Thomas the Tank Engine” hats and to color pictures of trains.

The focus on trains and railroads is part of MCCS’s Spirals preschool program’s summer-long focus on community that is designed to create a balance between explicit and embedded literacy in the class’s daily routine. In addition to Reed’s visit and the trip to Maine Eastern and Planet Toy, the class has spent time this summer at the Knox County Airport, Domino’s Pizza, and the Farnsworth Museum. As part of this literacy rich curriculum the children talk about what they know about a particular subject (trains, for example) both before and after learning about it. The classroom takes on each week’s theme, with reading, play, and learning activities all focusing on the subject of the week.

Both Midcoast Children’s Services and Spirals are programs of Broadreach Family & Community Services. Classrooms are located at Broadreach’s Midcoast Children’s Services campus and at MacDougal School on Broadway in Rockland, and are open to any child regardless of where they live. To enroll a child into this comprehensive program, or for more information on the program, its costs, and other Broadreach services call 594-8474.
Broadreach Family & Community Services is a non-profit organization that has been serving the children and families of Waldo and Knox Counties since 1983. For more information visit their website at www.broadreachmaine.org.