Education uses a multitude of tasks, activities, and actions to be truly beneficial for students.  Class field trips can help children make the connection between lessons learned in the classroom and practical application in the real world.

The sensory, physical, and social aspects of field trips enrich learning experiences.  A different environment can, in some cases, capture a student’s attention and interest. 

A subtle change can make a difference.  The information learned on a field trip can lead to lessons about preparing for life.  And they are fun.

I remember my first field trip as a child.  I was in kindergarten in Virginia, right outside Washington, D.C.  We took a trip to a local petting zoo, Deer Park.  I don’t remember a lot about that field trip. 

All I really remember is stepping off the bottom step of the bus directly into a mud puddle.  In my brand new white tennis shoes. 

I have always loved shoes.  I spent the day worrying about the mud on my feet and whether or not my mother would be able to make my shoes white again. Later field trips proved more educationally relevant to me, although during my time as a public school student, we didn’t really take many field trips.

As a teacher, I gained a new appreciation and respect for the teachers who took me and my classmates on field trips.  I didn’t realize that so much planning went into the process. 

Permission from school administration must be obtained, fundraising for trip costs must be conducted unless it is decided by teachers, students, and parents that each student should pay for their part of the cost of the trip, permission slips must be distributed and collected, busses and drivers must be requested.  So many details! 

And of course there is the classroom preparation to be sure the field trip will be of maximum benefit to the students.

I did sponsor some field trips during my teaching career, but probably my most memorable trip was about halfway through my career.  This particular trip was made possible by the program I was teaching - Jobs for America’s Graduates. 

My particular program, Jobs for Alabama’s Graduates (JAG), was given the chance for two students to travel with me to Washington, D.C. for a JAG convention. 

The students chosen, Kim Sims and Celeste Pittman, were among my first JAG students and honestly I learned far more from them than they did from me. 

We had a formal luncheon, heard guest speakers, attended awards presentations, and mingled with other JAG participants from all over the country.  

In addition to the educational benefits of the convention, we were able to see some of the nation’s capital and  see firsthand the historical richness of our heritage.

“A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” - George Santayana. Field trips expand educational horizons for many children.  Enriching lives outside the four walls of the traditional school adds another dimension to the opportunities for all of our children.

 

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