In preparation for our trip to the farm, we did some really fun learning activities. And, of course, read a farm-related book. Baby bookworm enjoyed telling the farmer's helper (or wife maybe?) all about the things she learned earlier in the morning! Check out what we did.....
1) First, we read the Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown (yes, the same author of the Goodnight Moon) and illustrated by Felicia Bond.
|Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown|
|Big Red Barn Craft with Animal Stampers|
3) Then, we did a matching game with farm animals. We sang Old McDonald Had a Farm....and I asked her to match each animal on the paper. It was a great review of animal names, and sounds!
4) Last but not least, we took our trip to the farm. And, if you have any doubts that activities such as the ones listed above help a child to learn EVEN MORE while on a "field trip" - I assure you, they do!!!! Not only do they help to stir up interest and excitement about the event, they help to repeat/reinforce the concepts we learned earlier (and repetition = learning), and they help to provide some base knowledge about new concepts or ideas that you may encounter on your trip. Be sure to make explicit connections though! Anyway, here are some of my favorite shots from the day.
|And on that farm he had some....cows....|
Take a look at a few easy strategies that I use while on a field trip like this to take it from being just a fun event, to a real learning situation!
Learning About Learning from Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist who made some important contributions to our understanding of learning and cognitive development. Of course, his theories have been scrutinized over the years, but he is still considered one of the great pioneers in the field of psychology and education. According to Piaget…
● learners are active beings who actually create/construct their own knowledge
● learning must not stress isolated parts, but must be integrated and clearly organized
● social interaction and language are valuable tools for learning and gaining developmentally-appropriate skills, especially when that interaction occurs between two peers who are functioning at about the same level of understanding
● cognitive development relies on two mechanisms that occur simultaneously: assimilation and accommodation. In order to learn, a child must be able to assimilate, or incorporate new elements of the environment, into his or her own existing schema. At the same time, a child must accommodate, or modify his or her knowledge, to meet the demands of the environment
● when a child encounters a problem or situation that he or she cannot assimilate into his or her current knowledge, they are thrown into a state of contradiction or puzzlement (or disequilibrium); this state is crucial to learning because it leads to an orderly reorganization of concepts, which leads to a higher level of understanding
So what does this mean in practical terms for you (the parent, caregiver, or teacher)?
*Try to engage a child’s previously learned knowledge; make a bridge between what is known/previously conceived and the new learning material
*Challenge your child – pose questions and problems for him or her to solve to push their understanding of concepts to a higher level
*Actively cooperate with your child and discuss things in your environment; that is, hold a conversation with them where they can equally contribute to the topic
I hope your next field trip becomes your next best learning experience yet!