According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children: “For preschoolers, field trips as simple as visiting the grocery store down the street or the post office a few blocks away offer interesting learning experiences. Trips such as these help children get to know the people and community in which they live.” Field trips are positively related to many areas of development, including social-emotional skills, by fostering positive relationship-building among students, teachers, and the people hosting the field trip. They also enhance and increase learning that takes place in the classroom and broaden learning to include aspects of a child’s community not encountered in an ordinary day. For children to reap these benefits, educators need to organize the trip to inspire questions, problem-solving, and observation. When these opportunities are provided with activities and discussion before and after the trip, field trips can contribute to children remembering concepts long term. We all know that Nebraska communities have a lot of opportunities to share with our children.
Virtual field trips may seem like a new idea to you and your family. Covid transformed some of our learning experiences around and gave more opportunities for children to hear from community leaders in a new way. The Learning in the Heartland Project brought four different states together to develop new learning opportunities for children and their families. If you are a parent looking for a fun thing to do on a rainy day or a preschool teacher with limited funds, Learning in the Heartland is for you!
Bring books to life with virtual field trips and activities. These short, exciting field trips help inspire questions, problem-solving, and observation to help children remember concepts longer. This program provides all caregivers, preschool teachers, and parents with books, virtual tours, art, and physical activities along with music. Children will learn more about community helpers and services and demonstrate an increased familiarity with doctors, police officers, firefighters, veterinarians, and greenhouse managers.
Topics and Books included in the Learning in the Heartland program are:
Fire Drill by Paul Dubois Jacobs and Jenifer Swender / Visiting a Fire Station
Patrolling Police Cars by Tony Mitton / Visiting a Police Station
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert / Visiting a Greenhouse
The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor by Stan and Jan Berenstain / Visiting a Doctor’s Office
Biscuit Visits the Doctor by Gina Bellisario / Visiting a Veterinarian Clinic
You will find:
- Teacher Outlines
- Virtual Field Trips
- Story Book Reading
- Physical Activity
- Hand On Activity
- Center Activity Ideas
- Family Letter
You can download all of the resources at: https://fitandhealthykids.unl.edu/learning-in-the-heartland
LISA POPPE, EARLY CHILDHOOD EXTENSION EDUCATOR | UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA
Peer Reviewed by LaDonna Werth, Sarah Roberts, and Lynn DeVries, Early Childhood Extension Educators
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