In this Educational Insights Series, experts from across the Wellington College group give advice, practical help and tips for parents who are keen to give further support for their children's learning. In this article from the series, teachers from Wellington College Bilingual Tianjin Nursery discuss the benifits of school trips.
Head of Early Years
We aim to build in as many trips for the children in the nest as we can. We know the children enjoy going out to places beyond the school gates. We know that parents and Grandparents enjoy accompanying the children on trips too! However, trips are far more than a chance to leave the school campus. So what are the benefits to your children of a school trip?
When we plan a trip for any of our classes, we do so to help to bring the learning to life for the children. The Reception pupils had the opportunity to visit a farm. They have spent time in the classroom learning the story of 'the little red hen'. They have had time to retell the story, act out the story, draw a story map and have sensory experiences with wheat and bread. These are all wonderful learning experiences. The children have been working so hard on learning the story ready to show you in their assembly.
So what does a trip add to their learning journey with 'the little red hen?'
The children are learning to develop their confidence when they are outside the classroom and go to an unfamiliar place. They get to listen to and ask questions of people they have never met, people who are experts in their field. The Reception pupils have been able to spend time with a farmer who grows wheat. They took time to show the children what it takes to grow a field of wheat, and how it is harvested. The children were able to see for themselves how long it takes to go from seed to a fully grown wheat plant. All of these experiences put the story they have learned into a real-world context. Having such first-hand experiences not only brings their learning to life, but it also makes it memorable. I am sure if you asked these children anything about the story, how wheat is grown or how bread is made, in 2 years - almost all of them would be able to tell you! Hands-on active learning is more easily fixed in our long term memory - this makes it easier for us to recall in the future.
We always remember that young children are not designed to sit still! The more active they are in their learning, the more engaged they are, the more they remember. This is why school trips are a fantastic support to every child's learning journey.
In pre-nursery we went on our first trip, a walk along the river to enhance the children's learning and giving them hands-on opportunities. We focused on our theme about autumn, naming colours, and different sizes of the leaves we found. The children were so excited to see their mums and grandparents who joined in our walk. Each child had their very own basket to collect the things they found. As we walked along the river, we heard the children chatting to each other in mandarin and English, talking about what they had found, "Look, a yellow leaf," "a big leaf," "I have a small leaf."
The children were exploring the different texture of the trees. They were confident to go further into the trees and went to hide in the trees. This was when the magic happened! They all started to sing our song, 'way up high in the apple tree.' Each of them started to do the actions and counted 1-5, showing their fingers for different numbers. On our walk, we heard a man playing the Saxophone and one child said, "look Miss Stephanie a boat!"
When we arrived back at pre-nursery, the children made some beautiful autumn pictures with the things they had collected. I am so proud. Everyone behaved so well on our special walk.
Our Reception pupils had a successful field trip to a local farm in Xiqing district recently. Field trips are an excellent way to bridge the gap between the concepts learned in the classroom and practical experience. For the past few weeks in literacy, the pupil's have been enamoured by the story of 'The Little Red Hen'. They've been hearing about the process of growing wheat and learning about farm animal behaviour but being on the farm tied all their learning together.
At the farm, children engaged their senses through a range of activities. They spent their morning picking corn and sweet potatoes where they were able to observe how tall the corn crop was, how low the sweet potatoes were, the colour of the vegetables, how they smelled and finally how they tasted.
They fed chickens and rabbits, some cabbage leaves that they had freshly picked. They witnessed first-hand how farmers care for their livestock and all the hard work that goes into raising crops. Their fingers felt different textures like the stringy husks of corn, the soft fur of rabbits and dogs, the smooth rocks and the rough bark of the trees.
We expect through this unique learning experience, that our pupils will have a deeper understanding of the process of growing food, the numerous interactions we have with the animal kingdom and the world we share together.