Bus Outings - Part 2

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.  This is Alex's story.  Alex is a wonderful, loving and newer Early Childhood Educator.  I love her honesty and vulnerability as she shares her experience of taking a group of pre-schoolers on bus outings.

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, Sr. Teacher in 3-5's, Saejin, Noeleane and Alex
Pedagogical Narration #2
Bus outings have become a regular occurrence in my planning, but without being mentored from experienced educators and stepping out of my comfort zone, I would have never thought they would be something I genuinely enjoy. Being new to the field of Early Childhood Education, the idea of taking 8 children on a city bus, when I have barely rode a bus in my life, was a little daunting. While in the ECE program I tried to plan many bus trips, knowing I have the support of an experienced educator to learn from and ask questions. Lots of nerves overcame me, but now bus outings are one of my most favorite experiences, and each time I am always so proud of the children. I’ve realized there needs to be a lot of trust and a solid relationship, as they are also stepping outside of their comfort zones so they need to feel that they are safe.
Much like my experience, this is how the “new or less experienced children” become familiar with going on bus outings. Some parents may wonder why there child is asked to go on specific outings. A lot of thought goes into the process of selecting the children based on having a group which is balanced: balanced in the way of having more experienced children to mentor the newer or less experienced ones. The children do learn from the educators but they are always learning from their peers. The experienced children become the mentors by using social ques such as:
“We need to sit and wait until the right number (bus) comes,”
“On the bus we use our whispers, so we don’t scare the bus driver or other passengers,”
“We are allowed to say good morning or hello to the bus driver,”
“When we get on the bus we go to the back, but we don’t push our friends on the way,”
“We don’t pull the yellow string, but if we ask the educator we might be able to,”
“We need to listen to the teacher and find a safe spot to wave goodbye to the bus,”
“We hold hands walking near a busy street.”
The children always mention these things on their outings, which leads to conversations as to why these are important. Then once we arrive to our destination more social ques happen. For example, on an outing to the North Shore Library before going into the library the children mentioned things that were respectful in a library.
“We need to be quiet otherwise the librarian will get upset.”
“We can read books, but we need to return them to the bin.”
“We need to be where a teacher can see us.”
These ideas all came from the children, which they have learned from their own experiences. Although this is just one example, it constantly reminds me the importance of stepping outside my comfort zone. Now that I am in the role of being a mentor to new Early Childhood Education students I think it is important to be honest that I was once nervous. I need to let them know that without trying something new I would have never realized how children mentor their peers, how they learn from real life experiences, that these opportunities entail so much learning and that being active members of our community is ultimately on the educator. We know that encouraging children to take risks leads to more in-depth learning and it is a good reminder that it is the same for adults.
Thank you families for trusting your children’s educators to let them have these rich and meaningful experiences.

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