Field Trips: A Day Out Not A Day Off

Did you know that last year (2016-2017) Mar Vista organized and participated in more field trips than any other elementary school in our school district? This little known fact is something that struck me and stuck with me because it highlights how our teachers go that extra mile and partner with our parents and community to provide enriching and memorable life experiences. We really know how to work together and take advantage of our local resources!

Already this February we have had many grade levels participate in a variety of field trips:

5th graders explored The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose. I especially enjoyed my conversation with one parent who went on this field trip and had plans with her child to return to San Jose the next day for a different reason when her child suggested they also return to the museum and explore more. What a great idea!

And, all 2nd graders hiked Niscene Marks State Park in our own backyard, Aptos:

4th graders witnessed this amazing view at the Monterey Bay Aquarium:

Here are some benefits of field trips:

  • First hand experience, Primary resources
  • Use of all senses
  • Physical movement
  • Build cultural understanding, tolerance, and empathy
  • Exposure to worlds outside their own
  • Student engagement
  • Conversation with curators, scientists, historians, and other professionals
  • Bond with classmates, shared experiences, work together in groups
  • Build independence away from parents
  • Rich follow up classroom activities, including writing prompts
  • Fun!

Research- based best practices for field trips:

For me, the value of making multiple field trips to the same location is key and exactly what many of our teachers and families do on purpose, especially with our more local excursions.

Finally, I spoke with another parent who suggested that I build in time to attend field trips every year with different grade levels. I absolutely love this idea and am looking forward to making it happen.

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