Friday, December 17, 2010

Field Trips: Allowing Children to EXPLORE a New Place

In the article, Field Trips Promote Child Learning At Its Best, Cartwright describes a trip where the adults brought the children to a place where they could explore freely (the beach). During this trip, the adults sat back and observed without interrupting the children's investigations. Stacey describes a similar experience at a hair salon in the article Coaching Community Hosts: The Other Side of the Field Trip where the children were given a tour, but were also allowed the opportunity to explore.

Please describe one place in your local community where you might be able to allow a group, or an individual child to explore freely. This might be a place that you visit regularly but have never taken the time to allow children to explore their own interests. Describe the place, how it might be interesting to the child(ren), and what you think might be there for them to explore. How can this benefit the children and how might their learning be different than if they were simply given a tour by adults?


  1. The place I would allow a group to explore freely would be the high school football stadium. The field is surround by a gate with the field goal posts, a track and plenty of grass. It would be interesting because they could look for various things, like bugs a rocks. It would also allow them to run around the track and have a competition to see who is the fastest. They could explore how many yards are in a football fields, what insects or wildlife may be on the field and what a track is made out of. This would benefit the children by allowing them to learn and be have a physical activity at the same time. If only adults were given the tour they might only see things through the adults eyes and see that it's just a stadium.

  2. I would take the children to the local waterfalls. It is a free and safe place to go. There is a boardwalk to keep them out of the water and on a certain path. We would walk along the boardwalk, and explore what types of flowers, plants, bugs, fish, and trees we would see. The children could learn about plants that grow by the water and not in their yard, they could see fish and what environment they live in, they could find wild flowers that grow by the water, and not in their yard. They could learn what poison ivy looks like, and why they should never go near it. They would be more interested in seeing the live plants, flowers, trees, instead of reading about them in a book, or and adult talking about them. They would have a visual picture to remember. Gayle S

  3. I would take the children to the local post office. The postmaster there is very friendly and well known by school staff and students. She has a great rapport with the students and often encourages them to stop in. She could show the students what her job entails and answer questions they may have. She would then give them the opportunity to explore and help her out with the mail sorting and other tasks. Beforehand I would have the students write a letter to someone and then they would have the opportunity to see the mail process to get it mailed. Michele L.