I went on my first school outing today – we took 29 four and five year olds to Build-a-Bear. We had to cross 8 roads and go on the bus. I am completely exhausted (as were most of the four and five year olds to be fair).
I mentioned the trip on Facebook and a few people questioned the educational value of going to Build-a-Bear.
My initial reaction was “fair point” but when I gave it some more thought, it occurred to me that there were quite a few learning experiences in there. Maybe not in the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic sense, but we were able to talk about things like appropriate behaviour in public, keeping yourself and each other safe by being sensible and looking out for your friends, being considerate of other people, how to cross roads (and yes, some of them absolutely needed to be taught how), what to do on public transport – I had quite an in depth conversation with one little boy about Oyster cards, how they work and why we have to pay to go on the bus.
(A side note – when we got to Build-a-Bear there were a couple of children who were absolutely astonished at the process of bear making – “what, you actually put that fluffy stuff inside the bear?” I wondered what they thought went into bears but didn’t like to ask in public.)
Perhaps the biggest benefit to today though, is that when they go on their first formal educational visit, probably in Year 1, they will have got over the initial shock of going out in a very large group, will understand better being expected to walk in a line of pairs (not intuitive behaviour for a small child), not wander off, listen carefully to instruction, etc and will get some real value from it, rather than being a bit shell shocked by the experience, never having done anything like it before in their lives.
Anyway, on a completely different note, I am posting this picture purely because it’s the only picture I took today. The boy, on the phone to his Aunty, arranging for his cousin A to come and visit from the West Country and play X-Box with him. Very pleased with himself he is!