Field trips have long provided children with additional learning opportunities and experiences outside of the standard educational environment. Children of all ages are exposed to a variety of cultural and social institutions that enhance various aspects of their development, involve them in their community and cultivate their understanding of new ideas.
The environment in which a child spends their time plays a major role in brain development. Their experiences create synaptic connections which build cognitive, social and emotional structures that will serve as the foundation for their progress in life. Since most of these experiences are derived from their surroundings, it is crucial to provide quality interactions that nurture and refine this process.
Creating memories fosters expansion of this very skill. Children are likely to recount their visit to the zoo, for example, to friends and families after the event. Others will ask questions like “what was your favorite animal?” or “what did you enjoy most about your trip to the zoo?”, and they will often respond with elaborate narrative as to what they found most interesting. They remember details that many adults would fail to retain – testament to the clarity of the young mind, and in stark contrast to our overflowing palette of adulthood.
Critical thinking is a natural extension of virtually any new experience a child has. They ask many questions and sometimes come up with their own answers. New ideas emerge almost immediately. After an excursion to a local museum, the child may weave a complex illustration of what they would display in their own museum if they were to own one someday.
New interests are created where once there were none. A community art exhibit may inspire one child to draw, and another to build things. Imagination is a virtue the young have in ample supply, and all it may take is that one spark of attraction – something that the child relates to without perhaps even knowing why. Their graduate school major may not necessarily result from something they encountered on a field trip (although it might), but it will certainly be one more entry on their life’s resume.
Field trips provide experiences outside the proverbial ‘boxes’ of numeracy and literacy. The Learning Lodge conducts field trips during the summer for pre-Kindergarten and school-aged children, visiting different locations throughout the metro area, helping children begin to appreciate the cultural diversity and heritage our world offers and supporting their desire to consume information from their surroundings.