For a student, there’s nothing more exciting than piling into a yellow school bus on field trip day. Whether it’s a trip to the zoo, a museum, a theater, or a university, each excursion helps to expand a student’s worldview and solidify the abstract concepts they’ve learned in the classroom. However, for many schools, field trips are being increasingly cut from school calendars.
At Vista College Prep, we strive to extend learning beyond the classroom for our Phoenix charter school students by facilitating at least two field trips per year for each grade level. The fall trips are focused on exposing our students to a variety of community organizations and local experiences. We always look forward to the spring trips visiting a college or university- exposing all of our students, starting in kindergarten, to what local, state colleges have to offer.
Exposure to Art and Science
Every fall, we take our students on an age and developmentally-appropriate art or science-based field trip. From visits to the Children’s Museum, where kids can play with giant building blocks and construct forts, to the Mesa Arts Center, where students are able to engage with live theater performances, our field trips are carefully selected to provide educational value in a fun environment.
A recent study led by University of Arkansas, professor Jay Greene, found that students who were taken on field trips that focused on art and culture displayed gains in critical thinking, historical empathy, and tolerance. Many of these locations turn into favorites as our students can’t get enough of the experience and love when their families volunteer as chaperones.
Hand-On, Real World Experiences
Field trips provide students with a unique opportunity to take what they’ve learned in the classroom and create real-world connections in a new environment. This type of experiential education is crucial to development because it accelerates learning in areas like critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The first-hand experiences that students have during field trips help students connect to the material more effectively and help them retain new, complex concepts.
Introduction to Colleges and Career Fields
At Vista College Prep, we take our field trips one step further and enhance our mission by introducing students to a new college or university every spring. This is one of our students’ favorite experiences and the most highly anticipated excursion of the year. Along with touring some of the state’s biggest institutions such as Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, and the University of Arizona, students are exposed to a variety of career fields to spark their future passions.
Some students might not even hear about college until they enter high school, but if a student starts at VCP in kindergarten and continues all the way through 8th grade, they will have visited college campuses nine times by the time they enter the 9th grade. This provides an insider view into all of the options and diversity that post-secondary education has to offer when it comes to career fields. VCP is dedicated to the idea that college preparation starts in kindergarten and visiting college campuses is one way VCP develops college-going identities among our students and families throughout their time within our community.
To expand students' understanding of the world and achieve higher academic performance, field trips are critical. At Vista College Prep, we aim to foster a sense of creativity, community, and passion for learning in every student through unique educational opportunities.