The Wheels on The BIG Blue Bus… go round and round, round and round. All through the town!
Our BIG blue bus is rolling again, taking our preschool and prekindergarten students all around town. COVID mitigations during the first half of the school year put a stop sign in front of field trips. However, BCPH recently changed the light to green. From heading to Home Depot to buy plants for our preschool garden, to visiting Cure Organic Farm to see baby animals and learn about life on a farm, to experiencing the beauty of Boulder while taking a hike at Chautauqua, students in our preschool and prekindergarten classrooms have been venturing out to experience the world around them through simple, yet meaningful and engaging field trip excursions.
Our field trips are intentionally planned with the goal of setting children up for success and connecting what they are learning and doing in the classroom to hands-on experiences in the outside world. Learning outside of our classroom walls encourages students to explore and interact with their world using all of their senses. We plan our trips so that children can actively see, touch, and participate in all aspects of the experience. Research shows that doing so helps children to build neurological connections in new and different ways while enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional growth.
Carylann Assante, executive director for Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and SYTA Youth Foundation, states that “Today’s students are visual learners, and a field trip lets them touch, feel, and listen to what they’re learning about, [which helps them] build on classroom instruction, gain a better understanding of topics, build cultural understanding and tolerance, and expose them to worlds outside their own.”
Field trips can also provide meaningful life lessons about human nature. For example, during a recent field trip to Home Depot’s garden center, one of our prekindergarten classes experienced a random act of kindness by another customer. Aaron, cut in front of the class as they were waiting to pay for their plants. At first, we thought that maybe he was short of time (or perhaps patience). However, when the children stepped up to the register to pay for their plants, we learned that Aaron had already paid — for them all of them.
As you can imagine, this was a heartwarming surprise! The children talked with Aaron for a short while afterwards. They and said thank you and Aaron shared that he was impressed with their interest in gardening and plants. The children officially named their garden – “Aaron’s garden” as a way of remembering his generosity.
Finally – and for the children, perhaps most importantly – field trips are exciting, fun, and often full of first-time experiences. For example, a field trip may be a child’s…
- First time out into the world without their parents.
- First time visiting a common place with other children.
- First time engaging in real-life work, such as collecting chicken eggs at a farm.
- First time taking responsibility for what is typically a “grown-up” task, such as carrying the plant you plan to purchase to the check-out stand at Home Depot.
- First time communicating how their experience connects to their daily life – “I drive by that barn on the way to my home.”
- First time riding on a school bus…
I often joke that if our BIG blue bus is involved, really all we would need to do is buckle up the children for a drive around the block. Riding on the bus is always a highlight of the trip! We are so grateful to have BCD’s bus as a resource. It makes planning field trips and getting out and about safe, fun, and accessible. The BIG blue bus is scheduled. The wheels are ready to go round and round as we continue to venture all around town…
- Kath Courter, Head of Preschool