Beyond the Field Trip - Part 1

I work in the toddler room.  My co-workers in the 3-5 room have taken on a challenge for themselves and are narrating not only the children's experiences but their own learning experiences as well.  I was inspired!  I think you will be too...

Saejin had the idea to do a pedagogical narration on why we take our children on outings. She completed her PN entitled “Beyond the Field Trip” and after reading it, I knew we had to expand on this. We talk a lot about encouraging the children to take risks in order to develop deeper learning and the same goes for us, as adults. We realize that the easier thing to do would be to stay in one of our yards every day but we have challenged ourselves to provide the children with meaningful experiences outside of the centre and in turn, both us, and the children have benefited. We decided that all four educators in our program would complete a pedagogical narration involving on/off campus outings.  We hope you enjoy reading them and finding out more about how your children spend their time with us. 

Mary, Saejin, Noeleane and Alex

Pedagogical Narration #1
Beyond the Field Trip

Sense of Belonging 
Isaac: This is the way to get to my house. 
Eli: Where is Megan’s mom’s house? 
Mason: I live in Kamloops. 
Chloe. S: I see ice cream store. Me and Maya go there. 
Garrett: There is a fire station.  

This is one of example of conversations that arise while on the bus with the children. Looking out the window, the children talk about where they live, where they like to go and simply chat about what they see at the moment. We learn to talk quietly on the bus, feel a sense of belonging in our community, when we talk about places we visit. 

 Learning from Real Circumstances 
Isaac: Look at that tree. It has no leaves. What happened to that tree?  
Oliver: Maybe, there was no water? If there is no water, tree can die. 
Isaac: Actually, too much water also can kill the tree. 
Me: It sounds like water is very important. Why the water is so important? 
Dionte: I want water when I am thirsty.  
Me: All the plants and animals need water for living like we need. If there is no water, plants cannot live and animals have nothing to eat. If they have nothing to eat, they cannot live. If so, what are we going to eat? 
Oliver: No water means no shower.  
Eli: If we are not washing hands, we get sick. 
Me: That is so true. Water can make us clean and alive. So, it is very important not to waste water.  
Everybody agreed to save water especially when we are washing hands. 

Like above, we love to chat about what we see at the moment. We learn from what we see, what we feel and the most importantly, we learn from our peers and our surrounding world. After noticing one dead tree and lots of discussion, we concluded not to waste water. 

The children noticed new signs on the bus. 
Georgia: What is that meaning? 
Dionte: I see pictures! 
Me: Those are the messages that bus driver wants to let passengers know about manners on the bus. That is for not smoking, not eating and being loud on a bus. 
Dionte: Look! That lady is drinking coffee on a bus! 

Most of children are interested in signs, like traffic signs. They like to find them and they are curious about them. We have books about signs, but it is more meaningful for them to see and experience them, like finding signs on a walk or seeing them on a public transit. Maybe it is the similar context with me being interested in ‘Deer signs’ on a road when I was in Canada first time. I saw it back home in books and TV, but it came more meaningfully to me when I saw it in real life. It is simply fun for the children finding signs and it is natural for the children to question about them. And most importantly, their learning is derived from questioning questions! 

 Peer Learning 
Dionte: I like speed bump, because it makes my body, bump, bump, bump. (doing motions bouncing his body on the bus.) 
Me: Do you know what speed bump is for? 
Dionte: (after thinking for a while) I don’t know. 
James: Yes, I do!  
Dionte: What? 
James: Speed bumps are for cars to stop for slowing down. The most important is when cars go fast, like really fast on a highway, I mean, going down really fast, driver stops the car to slow down.  
Me: You are right. It is actually not for stopping cars to slow down, but it is slow down cars for not to bump underneath of cars. If they don’t slow down, the bump can hit underneath of cars, so speed bump is for cars to speed down, like James said. Do you remember stopping sign for cars to stop, James? 
James: Yes, I do! Speed bumps are for slow down! 
Dionte: Speed bumps are for slow down. 

This is a good example of peer learning happening among the children on the bus outing. Perhaps, the best teachers for the children are their friends! 

 Meaningful Learning: Community Based Field Trips 

Let’s assume that there are two people. One learned about Eiffel Tower from books and TV. The other one learned about the Eiffel Tower by travelling. Which learning experience was more meaningfully? Probably the one who learned it by experienced its own. You, of course, can learn it from books enough, but you cannot compare how meaningfully you can learn it by experience.  
We all believe our children are our future and we want them to feel a sense of belonging and safe in our society. However, how are we going to accomplish this without experiencing? This is why we believe field trips are so important to our children. Nowadays, our children learn their surrounding world from little box such as television, smart phone and tablet, without touching, smelling, feeling, seeing it as real. Their brain seems to be trained to chase fast moving, like TV shows. However, real learning is derived from experience.  
Recently, our children learned about the meaning of ‘passengers’, being passengers and looking at other passengers on the bus. They do hear ‘this word from books and songs a lot, but now the children truly learned about what ‘passengers’ mean in a meaningful way. And there is another example: noticing a dead tree, they concluded to save water after having a long discussion. In these learningsthe children lead the learning, and the educator’s role was to support the children’s ideas and their discussion.   
They learn where to cross the street by looking at the signs, and listening to the adults’ directions. They learn to hold their friends’ hands when we walk as a group, walk on a side walk, stay in a group, use manners in the public areas, such as on the bus, library, and etc. They learn the seasons by being outside, noticing looking at the little sprouts coming out, beautiful flowers everywhere, falling leaves, and frost on the branches. 
They have millions of questions about their surrounding world. Our job is to support and guide them to find answers by themselves. This is type of learning is rewarding, both for the children and the adults in their lives.


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