CPN Students “Take Chances, Make Mistakes, Get Messy!” with Field Experiences

Written by Courtney Lorah

On March 31, 2017

For all students, field trips are beneficial ways to take learning beyond the classroom and make it applicable to real-world experiences. For students living in poverty, field trips are not always a financial possibility. Charleston Promise Neighborhood (CPN) recognizes the importance of additional opportunities, and therefore ensures that 100% of the students we serve are able to participate in at least one field experience per school year. By taking the financial burden off of the families and schools, CPN opens doors for students who might not otherwise have the opportunity.

Field experiences are educational tools that connect students to classroom concepts outside of the brick -and-mortar school setting. They have the power to increase student interest in a specific subject area, and can be used as motivation tools for some students. Teachers have control over the curriculum connection, but students are able to take ownership of their learning by choosing what and how they want to learn at the site. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, the average cost of a field trip for elementary school is $25.00. For a parent working a shift job at minimum wage, that is nearly 4 hours of work to send a single child on a field trip. In 2011, a study by the American Association of School Administrators found that more than half of schools eliminated planned field trips due to cost associations.

This shocking statistic combats hard evidence that children who are engaged in field experiences throughout their formative years possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical-thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have a greater taste for consuming art and culture (EducationNext). CPN believes that every child deserves to experience enriching opportunities outside of the classroom. Each school year, we send 100% of our students on a variety of field experiences including
Camp Blackbaud, Boeing DreamLearners, Capers Island, The Color of Music Festival, The Rhett Aiken House, Redux Contemporary Art Center, and many more. CPN staff listens to teacher requests, and intentionally selects these trips to align with school-day standards to create an amalgam of enrichment and enjoyment for our students.

Field trips provide terrific opportunities for students to learn outside of the walls of their classrooms in authentic ways. As Ms. Frizzle so famously said, it gives them the chance to “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!”. The third grade student who has never been to the theatre before might be inspired to pursue a career as a playwright after her first trip to the Gaillard Center. The fifth grader who loves gaming and learns to code at Camp Blackbaud might be inspired to become an engineer. The teacher who has been trying to relay a physics concept to a student might finally be able to do so at Boeing Dreamlearners. These field experiences are so much more than trips during the school day, they are opportunities that can potentially change the trajectory of a child’s life.

To help a student find their inner-spark through field experiences like these, click here.


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