The Value of Place-Based Field Trips

Sarah Guard

The Value of Place Based Fieldtrips

by Sarah Guard, Lower School Teacher

You may have noticed that we love to take field trips here at Sparhawk School, from preK to High School we give students real-life enriching experiences that relate to our school-wide theme. Whether it's a trip to a museum in Boston or a walk down the local bike path these place-based learning opprortunities offer windows into the real world that a classroom does not.

Last year, the children in my class were eager to learn about pumpkins. To foster this enthusiasm I decided to take the children on a field trip to a local farm that had a pumpkin patch. I wanted to show the children where the life of a pumpkin begins, give them an opportunity to touch and feel a real pumpkin plant and to meet a farmer so they could ask questions. This field trip sparked excitement and provided the children with an opportunity to learn through experience.

The Sparhawk Lower School theme for the year is "Connections." To provide our PreK and Kindergarten students with a community connection we have teamed up with the Greenleaf Day Program at the local Amesbury Senior Center. The children will be taking multiple field trips over to the center to "connect" with the seniors who attend this program. Our first visit provided a festive time where the children and the seniors sang, danced, and read together. They also brought cookies to share with their new friends and seniors attending the program presented each child with handmade ornaments. This rewarding place based fieldtrip offers a real-life window into our local community that the children may not otherwise experience.

These two examples are just a small insight into the many out of school trips we provide. As a teacher and parent here at Sparhawk, I have seen first-hand the incredible educational impact that place-based learning has on our children.  Learning through experience, gives our students tangible context to navigate the world around them.