The Village Charter and Wildwood Elementary Schools have redesigned school bus engines to take students on field trips, a job they were unable to do last year due to a pandemic. Fourth-graders from Charter Village Elementary School traveled to St. Augustine’s on April 1 to bring to life what they had learned about Florida history. “I feel that (field trips) are of great interest,” said Stacey Barkley, who teaches 4th and 5th grade at The Villages Charter Elementary School. “To really feel what they’re reading in the pages.” 12 classes of 248 students go on three separate trips to St. Augustine during the month. According to the city’s website, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European and African-American town in the United States.
Students will visit historical sites such as the Museum of the Spanish Military Hospital, the Pirate Museum and the Treasure of St. Augustine, and the National Monument of Castillo de San Marcos.
Barclay said teachers are just as excited as the students that the field trips are back on schedule.
“I can say that we are all teachers, we really miss field trips with our students,” Barclay said.
Barclay has taught for 15 years and has made this trip many times.
“It’s always nice to see, and in all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never had any students come up to me and say they didn’t blow up,” he said.
Field trips allow teachers to expand their education beyond the classroom, said Lean Yerk, principal of The Villages Charter Elementary School.
“All of our field trips allow teachers to link their class-level learning to their field trip experience,” he said.
Yerk said teachers need to be creative last year to provide such opportunities when they can’t go on field trips.
“Our teachers tried to compensate by not having to go on personal trips during the pandemic by finding virtual opportunities,” he said. “But, it’s not the same.”
This year, each class will go on an excursion from the first to the fifth.
First graders went to the Crayola Experience in Orlando, third graders went to SeaWorld Orlando and second graders went to Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Sanford. Crayola Experience is an indoor amusement park that offers coloring and creative exercises.
Kindergarten classes will have a “home trip” this year, and the Great American Bus Interactive Education company will stop the bus outside the school, where students will conduct exciting scientific experiments.
Wildwood Elementary School has also had a year full of adventures for students and is ahead.
“In a small rural province, some of our students don’t have the opportunity to visit places like Homosassa Springs, the zoo, the Craiola Experience and even our local library,” said Summer Shirley, principal of the elementary school. “Field trips allow our students to learn outside of the classroom and connect with real life.”
Shirley said being able to build these connections makes field trips an important part of the learning experience.
“I believe that field trips contribute to our learning by bringing learning to life,” he said.
Shirley said the constant shortage of manpower has made it difficult to secure trips because there was a shortage of bus drivers, but field trips will take place in some form or another.
“All classes have different opportunities planned outside of the classroom,” Shirley said. “Long-distance trips of some classes have been delayed or canceled due to lack of transport and bus drivers. All levels of classes can participate in a field trip, a day out of class on campus, or a field trip. ”
The third-graders went on a field trip on March 3 to the Wildwood Community Center, where they enjoyed the windbreakers, cotton candy, DJs, and more. First graders were able to attend the Crayola Experience in Orlando.
Fifth graders will go to an Orlando recreation center in May to celebrate high school graduation.
Most of the funding for these trips comes from community events organized by Wildwood Primary School Parents ’Organization, and the schools receive additional sponsorship and support from community clubs such as Friends of the Village Library.
FOVL has assisted at least three field trips this year by providing funding and support, including coordinating a field trip to the Village Public Library at Pinellas Plaza.
Fourth-graders at Wildwood Elementary School will travel to St. Augustine on May 26 as part of a Florida history study. It takes a village, The Villages Club helped on this trip by paying for charter buses.
Staff writer Garrett Schifflet can be reached at 352-753-1119. 5367, or firstname.lastname@example.org.