Field Trip Time!

It’s May.  In Brattleboro’s schools–at least from my experience–that’s really another way of saying, “It’s field trip time!”

As a parent, my heart soars when kids get excited about something.  It makes even the loudest and most uncomfortable of bus rides all worthwhile.  Here is my list of top ten field trips

I’ve gone on, in reverse order:

10) WEST BRATTLEBORO FIRE STATION.  Another trip from kindergarten, I again thought I would find it boring, but agreed because my son asked me to go along.  I also recall how shocked I was the young fireman pointed out that their “newest truck” was actually over 40 years old–which the kindergartners found ancient, indeed!  (I pondered useful life questions for humans vs fire trucks that day.)

9) WEST BRATTLEBORO POST OFFICE.  Having always been on the customer side of the counter,  I was impressed by Holly Bowen’s tour to kindergartners.  I have to admit I, too, wanted to put the cancel stamp on an envelope!

8) BRATTLEBORO BY BUS.  In third grade, Vermonters study about their local area.  Taking the town bus was brilliant–low cost and a new experience for almost every child.  I’ve never looked at the architecture in town the same way since!

7) MONTSHIRE MUSEUM.  This hands-on museum never fails to win over any elementary child–even as the experience is different to each.

6) SIX FLAGS.  In my mind, this one was going to be a boondoggle of massive proportions.  Take fourth graders to an amusement park and call it educational?  Shockingly, it really was!  They had studied physics and laws of motion in their science unit.  While they waited in line, they had to look for example of how the laws played out in a ride, and write a few sentences about it.  Truly, this was fun and education rolled into one.

5) WINDHAM SOLID WASTE.  When I heard the fourth graders were going to Windham Solid Waste, I honestly didn’t think that there could be anything but a “bunch of smelly trash” to look at.  I’m happy to say I was very wrong.... and that my family’s recycling efforts were encouraged by this visit.

4) THE CIRCUS.  Again, I was skeptical: what possible education could this provide?  Happily, again, I was wrong.  As their teacher explained, the band is the cohesive glue for the entire experience.  The music guides everything else that happens.  (Plus, the acts mesmerize even the most cynical sixth grader.)

3) RUDYARD KIPLING’s HOUSE.   The house is fun to walk through, of course.  What makes this trip so worthwhile is the story teller who recounts--and acts out--“How The Elephant Got His Trunk”.  His portrayal of Rudyard is so realistic that at least one child has asked if Rudyard did somehow come back from the dead.

2) DEERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS.  I am embarrassed to say it took the schools to show me this little gem so close by.  We carded wool, pretended to be kids in a classroom in the 1800s–and made rubbings of gravestones. (Did you know that as religious beliefs changed, the drawings on headstones did, too?  It’s a whole new experience when an art teacher accompanies the group!)

1) U MASS BANDS.  Having sixth graders hear college level music is perfect.  (The music created by these groups caused me to already write a whole column on this field trip alone before!)

Jill Stahl Tyler is a parent to three children involved in the local schools.  She firmly believes in all education, and currently sits on the board for the Brattleboro School Endowment and the Brattleboro Town School Board (elementary schools).