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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Preschool Alternatives to Field Trips

Its becoming more and more common that Child Care Centers are taking less field trips. For one, field trips require additional time, money and staffing. Second, field trips are a liability. One missing child, or a child left on the bus could be the end of a thriving center. Last, transportation is a big issue for small and large centers alike.

Don't let the fact that your facility cannot provide field trips stop you from finding field trip alternatives. Here's a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

Bring the field trip to you. 
I've had many field trips in my classroom over the years. People in your community are more than happy to stop by and share their passion with your class.
-The Zoo (ask what animals they may be able to bring)
-The Library
-The local supermarket
-The bakery (ask for a discount or coupons for your parents)
-The fire station (ask them to bring stickers and hats)
-The local police department (ask them to bring deputy stickers)
And many, many more!

Create the field trip in your classroom. 
Find props, recruit parents and friends to send items related to your field trip.
-If you're class is studying a specific culture: 
 Encourage your parents to bring in painting, pictures, mugs, or anything that represents that   
 particular unit of study.
-If you're studying a particular place:                                                                 
  What items can you find that are associated with the place? 
  For example, if you're studying the beach you might want to                                    
  bring in shells, a big umbrella, beach towels, swim suits, sunglasses, etc.

Take advantage of technology.
Make use of your dvd player, ipod, video camera, the internet, and digital camera.
-The dvd player
 The library has a great collection of dvd's about places, people and events especially for children.
-The Ipod
 Find music related materials of even stories about your field trip. 
-The Video Camera
  You go on the field trip and shoot video of the place you'd like to share. Enjoy it with your class. 
-The Internet
  There's a fantastic site called KidvisionVPK. The teacher Mrs. Peggy and her students go on 
  exciting field trips and invite you to come along. 
-The Digital Camera
  Take still photos of the place. Bring the photos to school and share them in circle time, 
  create a photo center or even use them to make a slide show. 

Keep in mind field trips are fun. They help children tie together the lessons you've been teaching. They provide valuable learning experiences and promote an expanded vocabulary.

Even if your school or childcare facility shy away from field trips. You can still provide some rewarding field trip alternatives right in your own classroom.

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