When the school bus pulls up in front of St. Patrick's to whisk students away, it brings with it a sense of the unknown, a sense of the possible, and a sense of the real that can sometimes be overlooked in the daily routine of school life. The students are eager to set off on a journey of learning, excitement, engagement and exploration.
Here at St. Patrick's, the journeys that our children take grow in complexity during their time with us. For the youngest members of our community, exploring the school itself and taking short local walking trips (a nature hike or a visit to our neighboring firehouse) to examine the world around us, provokes new questions and reflections. Additionally, the Nursery and PK students participate in "reverse field trips" where nature instructors and various performers bring their talents and knowledge of the larger world right to the classroom.
Field trips are selected, planned, enjoyed, and extended upon return with a clear recognition that students learn in many different ways and many different settings. Teachers ensure that field trips are closely tied to supporting studies undertaken within our classrooms. Students work hard to prepare for excursions and as a result are receptive and perceptive observers. Whether a trip is half day in length or a more extensive overnight adventure, students return to school brimming with new ideas, new knowledge, new questions and ready for the next new set of challenges.
Whether the destination is right around the corner or at a considerable distance, we want to deepen students' curiosity in the real-life context of the wider world, to remind students that learning goes on in many different venues, to encourage them to watch closely, to listen carefully, and to savor fresh insights...and also to have some fun along the way.