Friday, January 13, 2012

A school field trip in Geneva

The past few days, Kenny had been really excited about the upcoming field trip with his class, to go ice skating. They went today, and he loved it.  He was also very happy to get out of going to his French learning class, which he says is boring.

The differences between field trips here and in his school in Bellevue are immense.

  • There's more of them.  Kenny spent half the day today, and will also go the next two Fridays, ice skating with his class at a free outdoor ice skating rink, at Park des Bastion.  
  • There were no permission slips to sign, just a notice to have your child bring warmer clothes with on the day of the field trip.  
  • No parent volunteers.  They had the teacher, and a lady who normally substitutes for the class, and that's it, for about 25 kids.  
  • The kids walked to the Parc de Bastion, where the ice skating rink was.  It's about a half hour walk, through the middle of downtown Geneva, lots of cars and crossing of busy roads.  Kenny said that they all walked more or less in groups, got somewhat separated occasionally and the teacher would wait for everyone to catch up.  He stayed close to the teacher, because he was worried about getting lost.  
I'm really glad he had this experience.  It also goes to show that so many things that we take for absolutes (i.e., it would be too dangerous to take a large group of young kids walking through a city) are not at all.   I believe that in the USA, we're far too cautious and let our kids do too little, limiting their life experiences.  A good book on this topic is Free-Range Kids, Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry

Here's a picture we'd taken previously of the ice skating rink they visited.

EDIT: Peter's 4 and 5 year old pre-kindergarten class just took a field trip as well.  They went to the same parc, Parc de Bastion, but instead of walking the whole way, they walked to the bus stop and took the regular city bus.  There were 2 parent volunteers helping out the teacher.  The kids went to some kind of community center and watched some kids movie shorts.  

EDIT 3/5/2012
Kenny went on another field trip today - unannounced, no permission slips, nothing.  He just mentioned at dinner today that they'd gone on a field trip. They walked to the bus stop, took the regular city bus, and then went to a church where they listened to an organ, and were allowed to play it.  I can imagine that there would be a LOT more field trips in the US if it were this easy.

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