As we start meeting with interested families for the 2020-21 school year, we often get asked about our “field trips”.
It may not be the expected response, but we don’t do field trips. We do however learn through experiences.
Experiential learning is one thing that sets us apart from traditional learning environments. Not because it’s trendy or a catchy title but because that’s the way humans learn and we intentionally built in the flexibility necessary to incorporate it into our day. We learn by experiencing and doing.
It may sound like a minute detail but it creates a mindset shift.
When we think of field trips, we think of an isolated event with a large group of kids. As parents, we’re lucky if our kids get a few a year. They’re often the same trips that the kids in the same grade the year prior embarked on.
When we say we learn from experts and experiences, we do it almost weekly if not daily.
Last week alone, one cohort went to USFSP to experience a presentation on scientific thinking to build upon their science lessons.
Another went to a city council meeting to support their history/social science lessons. (This is a photo from a separate day that week when council member Amy Foster came and spoke to our kids in preparation for the city council meeting.)
Another went to play soccer as a part of their health lessons.
Two students went to interview a local business as a part of their inquiry project.
Another group went to lunch after placing free art around the city to pass on kindness.
Another group practiced a play that supported their ELA and SS lessons. (I can’t share photos of that because they’re performing it for their families this week and they don’t want to spoil the surprise.)
Another even went to a college class on entrepreneurship AFTER school.
These are all in addition to traditional lessons that go on during our school day.
Here’s the difference. Field trips are isolated. They are infrequent. They subtly communicate that learning can only happen in a classroom and that this trip is a treat.
Our students’ experiences are more than treats. They are opportunities for our students to see, hear, digest, and build upon learning more deeply. We are helping them open their eyes to the idea that learning happens everywhere, every day, and that it can look differently.
The amount of experiences our students are fortunate to embark on may vary as there are other steps to learning, but it is not a step that we skim over.
Before I go on, can we please get a shout out to our teachers?! Getting students prepared to take away as much as they can from these events is no small undertaking.
Every school provides different environments and methods of learning. As families start investigating schools that would work best for their own children, deciding if you value your child being active and involved in their learning is one that we will ask that you consider. Your choice isn’t wrong or right either way. But if you join us expecting and valuing the field trip vs. the experiences, you will be disappointed.
We can’t do everything but we can certainly tell you that we support our students learning through experiences.