As many of you know, our school (grades 1 - 8) went on a school class trip to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) this past Monday (April 22). It was a very exciting day. However, with the length of the trip, tired students by the end of the day, the cost, and sitting on the bus waiting for a train until 6:30pm on Burwell Street... the question is always: Was it worth it?
The answer is a resounding YES!Obviously we had fun; however, there are so many more reasons why these types of trips benefit our school. Here are my top five:
5. The buzz that it creates in our school - Students, like everyone else, like to be in an environment that is exciting and has energy. Trips create excitement that is tangible. Students were so eager for the trip that on the days leading up to it the halls were filled with chatter about what they were going to do at the ROM; the actual day of the trip was almost uncontainable, especially as we entered the building.
4. Students have an opportunity to experience a different place - Toronto itself, can be an amazing experience for students. "Look, it's the CN Tower," "Wow, that building is huge," and "There are so many people" are just a couple statements that you almost always hear as you drive with a group of children through Toronto. We try so hard to build "cultural" experiences into our Education program (our School2School Program and International Student Program to name a few) and, its funny, but a simple drive through Toronto is a great way to provide a similar experience for our students.
3. Awesome hands on learning - I joined the grade 1/2 class on their guided tour. We got to look through magnifying glasses at all kinds of insects. Some of them were creepy, some were small, some were really big, some were alive and, well... some weren't. But we got to examine the real version of all of them. Don't get me wrong, it is important to read about insects in a book or research them on the internet; but, there is something better and so much more incredible about seeing God's creation in action. Personally, I would love to fill our hallways with spiders, snakes, bats and frogs, but I'm not sure if the rest of the staff and students feels the same way... and I'm not sure if we would have any parents stopping by the school!
2. Trips can create a culture of curiosity and exploration - As educators, we always want our students to be fueled by their own curiosity. We don't simply want to dictate to them what is amazing, incredible, and important about our God and His world. We want them to discover those things through their own exploration. To be honest, in a place like the ROM, which has so many amazing exhibits that schools simply cannot afford or house, many of our students could have spent days there, running around looking from one thing to the next. It is an environment that truly peaks our students curiosity in a priceless way that fires them up and sparks their own interests and learning.
1. Inspiration - How amazing is God's creation! A day at the ROM always makes me reflect on how we are mysteriously and wonderfully made. For me, it is impossible to leave a place like the ROM, which is filled with so many animals, rocks, statues, buildings and aquariums, and not dwell on God's greatness! It is extremely inspiring and, through conversations with students, I know that they have been inspired too.