Excursions form a vital part of a child’s early education. They expose a child to a range of different experiences and enable them to gain a sense of the world in which they find themselves. Excursions encourage a child to embrace the unfamiliar and often every sense is employed in observing and understanding what they’re experiencing.
There are many fabulous places to include as excursions for children. Here are just a few ideas:
Local Botanic Park or Gardens
For most children, visiting gardens which are set out on a large scale, such as the local Botanic Gardens, can be an enthralling experience. The scents, the tactile nature of the plants around them and the amazing feeling of open green spaces is tremendously exciting for small children. Visually noting seasonal changes within a garden environment is also an excellent way to consolidate learning programs within the centre. These sights and scents will often stay with a child long into adulthood – becoming some of their earliest and best loved memories.
Who knows whether a garden visit as a four-year-old propelled Charlie Albone, award winning landscaper and gardener, towards his chosen career in later life!
Community Services – Fire Station
Visiting a local community service, such as a fire station, is another excellent method of teaching children in a fun and interesting way. It provides valuable information about how a community operates and what services are required to assist local communities. It teaches respect and appreciation for those men and women in service. Children get to ‘look and touch’, and gain real insight into how a fire station operates. It also provides opportunity to discuss topics like bush fire prevention or fire safety in a relatable way.
Retirement or Age Care Homes
Nothing gives the elderly and retired more pleasure than visiting with young children! Excursions to Retirement or Aged Care Homes are mutually beneficial to both old and young. Communities thrive best when age gaps are positively bridged and there is a real connection between past and present generations. The retired and elderly have many interesting stories to relate and these provide a window into the past for young children, which they find both fascinating and educational. Engaging with the older generation makes them less of a mystery to pre-schoolers – children learn they’re just the same as them, only with a few more wrinkles!
Beach / Ocean
An excursion to the beach must be high on the wish-list for most pre-schoolers. There’s nothing quite like the feel of sand between your toes and warm sun on your shoulders! It’s a fantastic opportunity for outdoor play and creativity, and it also provides a wonderful learning environment to study the ocean and its inhabitants.
Discussing topics such as ocean and marine life preservation, together with pollution prevention, are relevant environmental conversations to have and most pre-schoolers easily grasp the basic concepts of conservation.
Along with the concepts of marine conservation, the subject of animal and wildlife conservation is a time critical topic. Many animals are on the brink of extinction, with 1 in 10 animals predicted to be extinct by 2050. This estimate means that over 1 million species will be lost.
Excursions which bring children up close with animals, and which involves them in discussions about this serious topic, help educate them on what their choices mean for the planet and its animal inhabitants. Quite aside from the topic of conservation is the opportunity to interact with many different, and often unique types of animals and learn about their life cycles.