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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Field Trips

This past school year we had 5 field trips, which must be a record for little ones!  I thought I would review them for those in or near Brampton, Ontario.

 
The kids learned about pollination, planting, and harvesting.  They went on a wagon ride to the orchards to pick their apples.  We ate lunch on-site...that was pretty much it.

Pros - It was a good crop this year.  They have a playground and petting zoo which we made use of while we waited for our buses.
 
Cons - We usually get to pick a pumpkin for our class to carve but this year we did not.  There were many groups there so we had to wait awhile for the wagon to take us to the orchard and then had to walk back because I assume the wagon was unavailable.
The kids learned about the three emergency services - fire, police, and ambulatory - stranger awareness, and calling 911.  They were supposed to explore a police cruiser.

Pros - Free!  We just pay for bussing.  They arrange bussing and the school pays the invoice.  The officers were engaging and they used visuals and props (where else can you get to use asps (batons) and handcuffs!)  We got pencils and colouring sheets to take home.

Cons - Thanks to the polar vortex, we could not do the outside portion of the trip which was taking a closer look at a police cruiser.

 
Legoland
For the workshop component, the kids worked in groups to build structures out of Duplo.  First they had to build as high as they could and then they had to build for stability.  Structures were tested on an earthquake machine to see if they could withstand shaking and tremors.
 

Pros - Kids had fun, but who wouldn't?  They each got a piece of Lego as a take home gift as well as a worksheet reviewing the day's lesson.

Cons - Hard to justify this trip in terms of overall cost (although it's cheaper than regular admission) and educational value.  The workshop involved building and testing towers which could be done at school (in fact we did do that, just not with Lego).  The other portion involved playing with Lego, racing cars on ramps, going on rides, a play structure, karaoke, viewing Lego City, and 4D movies.  The first ride involved using guns to shoot "bad guys" so we didn't go on it.  We were first told that we couldn't bring outside food into the facility, because they sell lunch (it can be added to the cost per child).  So we brought snacks that the kids ate outside in the mall.  When we got there we were told that we could have brought lunch.  It seems enough groups complained about that policy.  It would be great for a child's birthday party - that's exactly what it felt like I was supervising.

 
Lester B. Pearson Theatre
A fun fractured retelling of Red Riding Hood.  Tons of jokes for both kids and adults.
 
Pro - Each class got a CD of the soundtrack after booking so you could familiarize your kids with the songs.  I didn't, but they enjoyed listening to it after.  Catchy songs, fun characters, and interaction with the audience.
 
Cons - I would have preferred first come, first served seating.  We arrived first, but were seated on the sides while later groups got centre seating.


 
Brampton Fire/Life Safety Education Centre
The kids watched a video about fire safety and got to explore a model home filled with safety hazards that were identified and discussed. 
 
Pros - Free!  The department paid for bussing as well!  Firefighters were patient and engaging.  Kids got helmets and an activity book to take home.  A short, but sweet trip.
 
Cons - None!


This school year we are going back to the Brampton Life/Fire Safety Education Centre and the Peel Children Safety Village.  We are also going to Meadowvale Theatre for a twist on Jack and the Beanstalk, Beanstock.  

Can you recommend any good field trips for grade one students in the Greater Toronto Area? 

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