By Darla Blue, Interim Elementary Principal
Are field trips and experience days important? Can they teach a subject in a different and possibly more meaningful way than what a student might find in the classroom? Do they give the student a deeper insight into the subject matter that they are studying? How do they fit into the daily classroom routine?
Field trips and Experience Days are a significant part of ECA’s Elementary curriculum.
By seeing real-life application of the lessons that students are learning in school, children might be more likely to understand and appreciate the importance and relevance of what they are learning. A field trip can awaken the desire in a child to try new things and pursue previously unconsidered dreams. Field trips can introduce children to job opportunities sparking new interests and passions Field trips give children a welcome break in routine. Students look forward to and prepare for the field trip for several days or weeks. Then, they get to spend time in a different learning environment and can complete a lesson on the topic covered after the trip is over. Learning in assorted ways can appeal to varied learning styles, helping children to succeed whether they are visual, auditory or kinetic learners.
Field trips give students educational experiences away from their regular structured school environment.
It is one thing to study about something in a classroom setting, it is quite another to experience the same concept live. In my experience, I have witnessed student’s minds being awakened and the excitement about a subject area enlightened. From seeing animals at the zoo in their habitat, hiking in the Garden of the Gods and viewing God’s amazing creation, seeing how, where and in what type of homes the Native American’s once lived, next, observing how our State Capitol functions and works, and finally seeing how children and families function and live in 3rd world countries outside their realm of life, through a Compassion International tour. Through these ventures our students have a different insight into each of these areas when seeing them with their own eyes and getting to have a hands on approach.
Popular field trip sites at our school include zoos, nature centers and walks, community agencies such as the fire station, government agencies, local businesses, space experience stations, science museums, and serving at benevolent facilities. On top of these we also offer a variety of experience days where our students are able to live through times in history in a mock setting; tasting the foods that were eaten, participating in activities and work that was done during the time which they are studying, and wearing clothes from the culture or time in history. Often times an experience day will give our students a much wider view of life outside of their current time line.