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Field Trips Promote Child Learning at its Best

by Sally Cartwright
May/June 2001
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/field-trips-promote-child-learning-at-its-best/5013940/

Children learn especially well when they act on their own initiative in the pursuit of experience. Spark their innate curiosity and watch them become alert for answers gained largely through firsthand, lively contact with their immediate world. It is inspiring to see children's experiential learning, for, when deeply involved, their sense of purpose, their joy in discovery, their intuition, imagination, and insight are truly remarkable.

Field trips invite just such firsthand experience. One warm, sunlit morning when the tide was low, our three and four year olds, my assistant, and I drove with parent help to Drift In, a wonderful, wide, low-tide beach of hard sand, which I know well. It has a few outcropping rocks with inviting tide pools. Lovely islands shelter this beach from the open sea, and the water is shallow and calm. Most weekday mornings, no other people are there.

When 12 pairs of small shoes and socks were lined up together on a convenient rock I said, "Okay, this is home base. We grownups will stay here, so take off if you like," and the children scattered. They ran barefoot, twirled, and leaped along the sand. Soon enough, as we watched, they began to slow down and explore ...

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