Some of the best memories of our school years come from field trips, we remember how fun they were. They are so much more than fun as it turns out they can be one of the best ways to learn! Field Trips are meant to be educational by exposing children to experiences that connect to ideas, concepts and subject matter. That first hand experience stimulates interest and retention of concepts. To this relation between experience and concepts we like to add the community dimension.
When we created the themes for our summer camp weeks we were thinking how we could enhance the authentic, first-hand, sensory-based learning that is gained through field trips. Austin’s core is nature, art and technology but it also has a rich history and diversity. What we expect from kids is that by associating what they learn with their own experiences and what they see in their communities, they can begin to develop the capacity to contribute to their community. This is one of the goals of the Association for Experiential Education which explores the education that comes from outside a classroom.
Some other benefits of field trips are the sharpening of observation and perception skills by utilizing their senses. A more positive attitude for learning and creating connections. Field Trips also develop interest in the outdoors and empower students to ask questions, discuss observations and consider past experiences. Field trips remove the competitive factor and the stress of a classroom. Some studies have discovered that whatever is learned through field trips is remembered better than whatever is studied in a formal setting. Even so, field trips have become less common due to limited funding and available time year round. That’s why programs such as ATX Kids Club are important to have around. Who wouldn’t want a field trip every day!