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The Necessity of Field Trips in Early Childhood Education
There is a lot of learning that takes place when children go for field trips. In particular, field trip experiences contribute to building of “social aspects” of these children, as well as the development of civilization of young children to become responsible men and women. Children are able to acquire knowledge and skills concerning various aspects such as critical thinking, art, history, tolerance as well as a heightened sense of consuming culture and art. When children are exposed to more observations, their skills in critical skills are reinforced. Further, these students learn to be more observant, alongside the capability to notice and describe particular objects, animals or other forms of life. Therefore, students acquire the skill of paying more attention to detail while becoming more observant when they discuss and learn some aspect of art.
Field trips in historical sites such as museums also enhance the children’s values. A visit to such sites exposes children who in this case are learners to different ideas, time periods, places and people. Consequently, the wider experience makes them to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of cultures, languages and places other than their own. In addition, these learners go on to develop and heightened historical tolerance and empathy. When these students have historical empathy, learners are able to appreciate and comprehend the kind of life people lived in a different place and time. Field trips are also to enhancing the cognitive effects of children in their early education. In other words, they positively contribute and improve the learning process. What is more, children also become more aware of their environment when they see, touch, feel and hear new things.
B: A Farm Field Trip Experience
With an understanding on the necessity of field trips to the children’s development and learning process, our school, Rivatex Academy regular holds such events outside the school. This part presents a description of the latest field trip as in my role as a teacher who was involved and the experiences of learners in this process. Being the teacher responsible for the trip, I was also the coordinator and ensured that the event was successful. I noted down the number of children that was to attend the event as well as liaised with the farm owner on the possibility of our students having to visit his farm. After agreeing with the farm owner and the amount of compensation he could need, I together with the school administration designed a budget for the trip. This budget included the bus to hire, money for the driver, lunch for the learners, and the reward for the farmer. We also had to take consideration special accommodation including accessibility of wheelchairs and personal aid since we had two children who were disabled.
As the trip coordinator, I also had to visit the farm prior to the actual date to ascertain the feasibility of the place. In addition, I discussed with the children on where they would visit, what they could expect and what the expected behavior was. I as well gathered from the farm manager/owner on what he expected from the children and the time period he was comfortable with. Alongside finding out accommodation for special children, I also had to schedule lunch and snack break sessions prior to commencement of the journey. The following items and tools were included in the supply list for the trip: nametags, first aid kids, rain pochos, soaps and paper towels at the farm, water jugs, and camera. Other items were bins for harvesting, cups, picnic taps and cutting boards.
For this trip, children had quite a lot of experiences including taking part in a hayride, using the picnic area at the farm, harvesting seasonal crops, play time, scavenging, coloring sheets, feeding animals and teaching where the teacher provided information regarding the crops, animals and general farming at the farm. Children who felt like being tired or sleeping were allowed to rest at the restroom, provided by the farm owner. Other activities the students engaged in included taking a farm tour hayride in exploring various farming activities, picking strawberries, apples and tomatoes and planting seeds. There was also a session for instructions where the farm owner and manager gave instructions to the children on how some crops are grown, tendered and harvested and what it takes to rear some of the animals. It was generally an enriching experience for these children.
After returning back to the school, I asked the children to craft a thank you note for the farmer and the school administration for sponsoring the event. In addition, each learner was required to write, as well as narrate their experiences in the farm. I also formed a group of five children to discuss about their experiences, what new things they saw or learnt what they liked best and what they could not forget out of the trip. From what I gathered, majority of students were able to learn quiet many things and that they were positive about these experiences. Furthermore, many of them were also open that they were eager for more field trips that were farm related as well as in other places. Moreover, I requested the children to draw pictures of what they saw and to take the photos of the farm plus the activities they were involved in which they could then show to their parents and guardians.
As a teacher, I had to broaden lesson plans to incorporate follow up activities which entail ensuring that students are able to apply what they learnt in their practical lessons and real life situations. In particular, I have to ensure that each learner has at least some form of farming activities that is taking place at his or her home. In addition, I will also implement some form of farm activity at the school garden so that the skills learnt by the students are put into use.