Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu Discusses How Riding Public Transit With Young Children Helps Them Learn About Community (Video)
Yesterday, Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu was giving a speech about the MBTA and during that speech she shared how riding riding the MBTA with her toddler can be both stressful but also an experience where her son learns about the community and how to interact with people.
Early childhood education and care does not just encompass what happened in the home or classroom. It is all of a child’s experiences. 1000s of young children ride the MBTA each day. As Councilor Wu correctly pointed out, this can be a great place for young children to learn about their community. When on the MBTA, you are sure to encounter a wide range of people of people from every culture and with every personality type. From a person who politely jokes around with a young child to a person who refuses to give up a seat and looks away. The MBTA is always filled with an interesting group of characters. The picture book Last Stop On Market Street by Matt De La Pena perfectly captures the wide range of people a young child can meet on a bus ride.
Growing up, I was raised by a single mom and we did not own a car so we were always riding on the MBTA and interacting with random people in the community like the older ladies riding the 71 bus to church who would give me a lollipop to the guy who always seemed to be waiting for the 70 bus and would only say the same thing whenever we saw him “Howdy” and then I’d reply “Howdy” back. There were countless other characters on the bus. As a Pre-K teacher, sometimes we take the MBTA on trips and the children are always excited, asking questions about everything, and often interacting with passengers. Yes, sometimes these experiences riding the MBTA are stressful. There can be an overcrowded bus or train or there might be people on the train who aren’t friendly and children will be exposed to the troubles of the world like people with substance abuse issues. Even all that can be learning experiences. These are experiences that you can’t get in a car.
Investing in the MBTA to improve service will no doubt will help the parents who ride the public transit with young children and help with early childhood education and care.