Learning Outside the Classroom
April 12, 2016
Spring and summer breaks are fabulous times for kids to encounter hands-on, experiential learning. During the 2016 spring break, King’s students enjoyed time to observe, transform and reflect on their environments through King’s Kids Club, school trips, family vacations and even time at home.
Outside of the classroom can start with the school grounds. Elementary students in King’s Kids Club delved into the mystery of King’s Schools’ history over spring break by touring CRISTA’s tunnels, exploring the campus and engaging in a fun treasure hunt. They also got up close and personal with farm animals they’d read about in books with a visit from Animal Encounters. Juanita Thompson, Director of Special Programs & King’s Kid Club, believes that learning outside the classroom is important because “students can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real life and real world situations.” For instance, during free play on Wheel Day, students have a safe place to ride their bikes, rollerblades, scooters and skateboard on the elementary campus. They also went off-campus to try their hand at bowling. “With parents working full-time, kids often have less opportunity to go try new things and see new places,” said Thompson. Special Programs Assistant Sharyn Spradlin added, “In addition to “soft skills” of working with others, leadership, self-discipline, and endurance; extracurricular activities also help build important relationships to mentors such as soccer coaches, bandleaders, and pastors, who can be paramount in a young person’s life.
A large group of King’s Jr. High students travelled with Teachers John Hubbell and Jeff Wright to Washington D.C. for some hands on history. “One thing they learned was the scope of things,” said Hubbell. “Places look much different in person than they do in books.” Students could smell cherry blossoms as they visited memorials to fallen soldiers. They experienced quiet solemnness as two King’s students placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. They saw the actual size of the Capitol Buildings and participated in Gettysburg reenactments of cannon and musket loading. You just can’t learn those things inside of a classroom.
Other King’s Kids spent spring break vacationing with family. King’s Parent Beverly Emerson reflected on the things her kids learned during their spring break ski trip:
- They learn to support family. As our kids get older (and as I get older!) it becomes more difficult to stay ahead of them on the ski slopes. I found my daughter shouting words of encouragement to me as I negotiated the black diamond route the rest of the family had chosen. Words of praise and support from my child to me made me realize – she gets it!
- They learn creativity, and play in nature. We rented a cabin for a couple nights and kept screen time to a minimum. There was more free time than usual to just explore and play. My son found wild turkeys on the property and stalked them with pine cones. While we didn’t approve of this activity, he did manage to be the only one to witness them fleeing for their lives, flying high up into the trees. Who knew turkeys could fly?
- Our daughter learned that she’s capable of more than she thought. Once she got her ski legs underneath her, she was able to do tougher runs than she had ever done before. It wasn’t pretty, but she can say that she skied a black run!
Plenty of King’s families chose to spend spring break at home taking a break from activities, and that down time is also important learning time. With nothing planned, children have time to play, create and process. They create worlds in Minecraft, paint landscapes, and fold paper into airplanes, animals and ninja stars. They learn business skills with lemonade stands and social skills building forts with the neighborhood crowd. They also learn by helping in the garden and around the house. Emerson said that when her children do chores, “They learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Well, ok, maybe they haven’t learned it yet, but we’re working on it. It takes time and effort to maintain a house and yard and taking responsibility for it is part of life.”
Inside and outside the classroom, life is about learning. What are some of the fun things that your family learned on Spring break?