Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Public School Field Trips

One of the many special things about Eloise's kindergarten class is that they take a boatload of field trips. The field trips are often exhausting for the chaperones-- and I should know, I have chaperoned over half of them! Even though navigating certain situations with 20+ kiddos can be stressful, like getting them all on a city bus and heading to the Seattle Art Museum, it usually ends up being quite a bit of fun.

The most recent field trips I have chaperoned have been to the Woodland Park Zoo, the mounted patrol horse stables at Westcrest Park and low tide at Constellation Park. Truth be told, I often jump on the opportunities to chaperone because that means Iris gets to go, too. Iris has had the opportunity to do things this year we might not otherwise have done, like see Frog and Toad at the Seattle Children's Theatre and meet the horses of the mounted patrol.

Our trip to WPZ happened several weeks ago and it was a special trip for the kindergartners as their "big buddies" in the 6th grade class came with us. That meant I was in charge of four kinders, four 6th graders and Iris. Mostly the 6th graders didn't really need to be wrangled, but I did have to know where all nine of my kids were at all times. Whew! Luckily we didn't lose anyone, at least not for very long! I was very surprised to see how many of the big kids carried things like ipods and Kindle Fires and other gadgets like that. It's been a loooooong time since I was in 6th grade! We navigated a few of the zoo exhibits, mostly running by everything as we had a very small window of time to cover a wonderfully gigantic zoo. At the end of the trip the teachers made a smart call and let all of the kids unwind on the playground before corraling everyone back on to the school busses to go back to school.

A couple of weeks ago was our trip to the mounted patrol stables. They are in Seattle's Westcrest park and I have driven by the driveway to the stables many, many times without ever noticing the stables were there. Before hitting the stables the kinders had lunch and played on the playground. The police officer who guided our tour was kind and informative and, most importantly with kinders, relatively quick. We got to see the tack room, the arena, the stables, the hay bales, the resident cat who just loved the attention of all of those kids, and of course, the horses! On our way out the police officer gave all of the kids junior mounted patrol stickers.

Last week was probably my favorite field trip of the year, next to seeing Frog and Toad. It was a gloomy, rainy, typical Seattle Spring day (though as a side note, our Spring this year is bee-you-tee-ful!) but that didn't deter two full bus loads of kids plus  teachers and chaperones from descending on the beaches along the Puget Sound for low tide. I had never explored the beach we were at and was thrilled to discover that the piles of giant rocks was home to dozens of bright purple sea stars and other sea creatures! We were all soaked through our boots and rain gear by the end of our trip, but it was well worth it. Definitely my most memorable low-tide exploration to date. Well, next to the time that one of my children who, when pretty small, screamed bloody murder whenever I tried to set her down to walk on the rocks. She was absolutely convinced a crab would bite her. Through her rain boots. And the crabs about the size of a half dollar. Never mind, the girls both grew up to love exploring the magic of low tide.

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