School trips – worth the hassle?

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With the arrival of the “creative curriculum” and the idea that teachers need to hook children in to their learning, engage them in their learning and inspire them to want to learn, the school trip is fast becoming the holy grail.

Pros –

  • real life experiences ensure that children learn key skills
  • getting out of the classroom inspires children
  • getting out of the classroom inspires teachers
  • children can write with real understanding of a subject
  • children rarely forget a trip they have been on

Cons –

  • cost
  • paperwork

These negative aspects do need serious consideration when planning a trip, but they should not be a reason to give up on the idea of taking children out of school for educational visits.

 

Together with my colleague Mairi, we created a vibrant KS1 curriculum which features plenty of enrichment opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.  Part of our ethos is that we both like a challenge and we both like to plan a trip at least once a term if not more frequently.  Our headteacher told us we needed to reduce the costs so we now have an understanding relationship with a local public bus company.  They have decided it is better for them to know when we are heading out as opposed to finding 75 of us waiting at the bus stop!  The first time that this happened our learning was all related to tree types, leaves and signs of spring.  If you ask the children, they ONLY remember the fact a double decker bus was sent to collect us, however their writing and science work tells a different story.

Our medium term planning is available here (http://www.euxton.lancs.sch.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=583%3Aks1-curriculum-autumn&catid=73%3Acurriculm-new&Itemid=1 – Autumn term and http://www.euxton.lancs.sch.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=603%3Aks1-curriculum-spring&catid=73%3Acurriculm-new&Itemid=1 – Spring).

 

Here are my top 5 trip moments.

The time I took a class of Year 4 children to an art gallery to gather inspiration from a landscape exhibition.  The gallery had changed the exhibition to nudes.  Bums everywhere!

The time I took a class of Year 2 children to the Harris Museum (http://www.harrismuseum.org.uk/) in Preston for a drama and art activity.  I ended up on Radio 4.Image

The time I had negotiated a cheap deal for ice creams for the whole class.  We all sat around the town square listening to the sound of “Thriller” coming from a man and his boom box nearby.  I had to call 999, as on closer inspection he was obviously grieving after the death of Michael Jackson and was cutting himself.  The children knew nothing of this and loved their ice creams.

The time 75 of us hailed a public bus and caused havoc on the road network resulting in them sending us a double decker bus to bring us home at a time of our own convenience.

The time 120 of us travelled by tube to Hyde Park and several children returned by taxi.  Shoeless.  The sandpit in the Princess Diana park had swallowed them apparently.

 

For me, a school trip is always worth the hassle.  Coaches are not the only way to travel and your PTFA might contribute to some of the cost.  The benefits far outweigh the difficulties and if learning opportunities are planned in, the impact is palpable.

 

Some school trips are more eventful than others.  Please share your own stories in the comments section or tweet me if it can be condensed into 140 characters.

 

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