27 Responses to Let’s Ask All Our Schools for a Day Like This

  1. Walter Underwood June 8, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Wow, they’ve invented Scouting. About a 100 years late, but that’s fine, it is new for every batch of kids.

    Lovely weather for England.

  2. Kimberly June 8, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    It gave me a great idea for recess. I think I’ll put together an art bag with various supplies that the kids can take outside if they want.

  3. Ben June 8, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Let’s be honest, this needs to happen a lot more often, preferably before TV and computer screens and long hours in school have made these kids allergic to the outdoors…

  4. Linda Wightman June 8, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    It’s lovely. Sad to think this used to be called “normal” — and was done at home in “real life,” instead of needed to be taught in school.

  5. gap.runner June 8, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    German schools do something similar, though it’s not an overnight trip. Every year at the beginning and end of the school year every class goes on a hike with its teacher. As the kids get older, the hikes get longer.

    My son’s school also has a Winter Sports Day every year, usually just before the Fasching or Easter breaks. In 5th grade the classes all do the same activity. But starting in 6th grade, the kids can choose what they wish to do: downhill skiing, cross country skiing, ice skating, or sledding. The kids are accompanied by a teacher. But if they want to stay after the activity officially ends, they just need to bring a note from their parents saying that it’s okay for them to stay.

  6. Aubrey June 8, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t see this as a great thing. What happened to schools teaching, you know, reading and math? I’m not thrilled with my tax dollars going to stuff that parents should be doing. Yes, I’m fully aware that many parents aren’t, but that doesn’t mean I should be paying for it, especially when we’re graduating young adults who do not have the skills to move on to work or college.

    A Slightly Bitter Homeschooler 😉

  7. anonymous this time June 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    Wow, Aubrey, it’s hard for me to read your comment without feeling some pain. I guess that’s because I imagine all children are far more likely to be engaged with their teacher, and their basic skills subjects, if that learning can be more connected to life, the outdoors, actual applied learning. The kids looked like they were doing some kind of writing, reporting, and experimenting, but the real thing that’s happening is connection with each other, the teacher, and the world. To me, this is what would make learning of the “basics” more enjoyable and efficient, and better prepare children for “work or college,” as you say.

    Not to mention the wonderful momentum forward a trip like that can put into motion… many children are being raised by parents who are determinedly “allergic” to nature, so in my view, “education dollars” would be very well spent to holistically educate children in many ways, not just like a trip in this video. Not sure how wildly “expensive” an overnight into the countryside would be anyway.

    Are we truly begrudging children an experience like this simply because we think it “should” be parents who provide it? After all, parents aren’t likely to take the whole class, and that’s a pretty cool experience to have with one’s compatriots…

  8. gap.runner June 8, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Aubrey, sometimes kids just need a break from the classroom. My son goes to a school that would be considered a school for the gifted in the States. During the school year the pace is fast and there is a lot of pressure when it’s exam time. Every once in a while classes will take a field trip or hike just to let the students’ brains take a little break. The Winter Sports Day describe above is also a way for the kids to get outdoors and have a break from pressure-packed exams. Adults take “mental health days” from their work. Kids need to do the same.

  9. Linda Wightman June 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m with Aubrey — and also not. Too many schools try to instill a false “we are family” feeling in the students and encroach on parental ground. I did resent it when the schools gave our kids “fun experiences” that we had wanted to do as a family. Watching a movie was a BIG THING in our household, and I don’t know how many times we’d plan something special only to have the kids say, “oh, we saw that in school already.” Now THAT is a waste of school time.

    But this adventure sounds as if it could stimulate learning in a big way, not to mention being — unlike most movies — a great thing to repeat with variations. For all the time kids are in school, there’s no excuse for not being able to have this AND the academic subjects. (That’s a big reason why we homeschooled — too many hours being spent in school with not enough learning and at the same time not enough recess.)

  10. Gabe Tetrault June 8, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    How on Earth will these children ever be able to pass tests like this? Education is all about passing tests, you see.

    The only way to accomplish this is by under-funding education, penning them up in a classroom with more than 30 students, and then restricting their physical activities for 6-7 hours a day. They also need 3-5 more hours of work to take home with them, lest they have any down-time whatsoever and forget everything that they learned on that day.

  11. Donald June 8, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    I think this micro adventure is great! I’m also sad to see that it has become a big deal. I sort of agree with Aubrey. Why do tax dollars go to stuff like this? The answer is because playing is becoming a lost technology. Playing is an important part of education. Disallowing play is a neglect of education.

    Over the years the trend has become to not play outside for various reason. It’s boring because there are no other kids to play with. The parents can get turned into the police or CPA if they allow their children to play outside. Some parents and/or children are too afraid to let go of the apron strings. Playgrounds are designed to be boring because anything that will entertain a child over 3 years old has been removed due to litigation hysteria.

    …….How on Earth will these children ever be able to pass tests like this? Education is all about passing tests, you see……..

    Unless children play (and learn how do things on their own) they will have a limited ability to apply the academical stuff in real life.

    Children need to start playing again. This is why I have become a scout leader.

  12. Dee June 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    I think several of you here have a MUCH different school experience from what we do. School for us is ALL reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. No adventures, micro or otherwise. It’s perfectly awful and makes school nearly unbearable for my hands-on, kinesthetic learner. How much did these kids learn about nature? Way more than they ever could have in a science book. They also PLANNED the adventure themselves – a more useful skill than half of what you learn in school. I would give my right arm for my son to have a school like this.

  13. Gina June 8, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    @Aubrey–I am of the mind that every single thing a child does is learning. Math, science, history and language are all part of everyday life. Just because a child isn’t tested on something or doesn’t write it on a piece of paper doesn’t mean it hasn’t been learned. I have taken my kids out of school for weeks at a time when my husband needed to be on a movie set. They are learning on the road (history, geography…); they are learning on the set…they are always learning.

  14. David June 9, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    At least they’re doing something of value to them. Unlike about 99% of school where they’re stuck behind a desk learning stuff that’s of no interest to them, is completely irrelevant to their lives and will be forgotten a week after the test is over

  15. Hellen June 9, 2013 at 9:42 am #

    I think this is a great idea. Children learn in different ways and this is a hands on experience that will benefit those who dread reading and sitting in a classroom. They learned about their community in figuring out transportation, science, art, phys ed, writing, what’s not to like. Rather do this than be shuffled from classroom to classroom experiencing this things through computers and powerpoint presentations.

  16. Papilio June 9, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    @Gabe Tetrault: Love the sarcasm 😀

  17. l Stanley June 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    Does anybody out there remember the open school concept of the 60’s & 70’s?
    Summerhill in England.
    How about the concept that Play is How Children Learn?

  18. This girl loves to talk June 9, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    As a family that lives in inner city – I would LOVE this idea. Yes we try to be a responsible family that takes day trips, yes we go camping (though sadly it only seems to happen once, maybe twice a year) but if school offered this too a couple times a year I think it would be fantastic.

    I live in a warm climate and we have a fireplace (most people do not) I cant tell you how many kids we have had here sooooo excited to do a fire and toast mashmallows. People are surprised when I say we teach our kids to do fires around 6 years old (and youngers know how to behave) You’d be surprised at how many kids DO NOT get to do this type of thing – people are busy, people are stressed and feel they have to work all year long, people work two jobs and kids suffer.

    And isn’t a trip to the country pretty cheap? Surely this type of education would be cheaper than most any other type. There are whole outdoor kindergartens in Europe. Cant really think of anything cheaper – to the person complaining about taxes. No building, no 100’s of chairs and desks and stuff, no electricity bill. Sounds like a plan to SAVE money to me. The kids can still learn geography, maths,planning, sports, motor skills, cooperation etc in this setting.

    I would be interested to see if kids come out with better skills for jobs/college by attending things like this. I would think they would.

  19. S June 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    I don’t remember the “open school” concept, but I remember “open classrooms” in the late 70’s/early 80’s. (No walls between the classrooms anywhere – just a bunch of classes in one school, largely physically unseperated from each other.) It was an utter disaster of constant distraction in which very little was learned. Some of us were lucky we had parents to teach us at home after school, or to pull us out of the public schools for private schools, or to find a way somehow to get us to a public school that wasn’t doing the fad. Those who didn’t escape or get supplemented education at home had remedial education a few years later in high school. Fortunately, the educrats did EVENTUALLY realize what a disaster “open classrooms” were and stopped doing it. (I think it took them ten years.) By the mid-to-late-80’s, the fad was pretty much gone everywhere. I don’t see that it’s made a comeback anywhere, but I could be wrong.

  20. Joel June 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    @Aubrey – What you wrote was so comical I almost wondered if you were pulling our legs. First – who said any tax dollars were spent? Could have been, but could been 100% volunteer also. Second – do you really believe that ONE day out of an entire school year of not teaching math and science in the classroom would make a difference in outcomes? I watched this video and thought it was inspiring and wonderful and then read your negative comment. What a drag you are.

  21. David June 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    @Stanley -I don’t know much about ‘open classrooms’ but if by ‘open schools’ you mean democratic schools like Summerhill or the Sudbury Valley schools in the US and elsewhere. then these are still with us, although very much a niche part of education and generally under threat from various factions in government. In 2000 Summerhill narrowly escaped being closed by the UK schools inspectorate OFSTEAD.

    Summerhill and similar democratic schools operate on the principle that children should be free to learn what and when they wish and are run by democratic bodies in which each pupil and member of staff has an equal vote.

    Having worked for over 10 years in a conventional school, I am thoroughly exasperated with the useless education it provides and with the authoritarian nature of the school hierarchy and find democratic education a fascinating alternative

  22. Papilio June 10, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    “I would be interested to see if kids come out with better skills for jobs/college by attending things like this. I would think they would.”

    If they would come out with equal skills but memories of school that are much happier than ‘lethal injection minus the yummy last meal’, wouldn’t that be enough reason to do this?

  23. Alastair Humphreys June 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Hi all,
    Firstly thank you so much for posting my video on your blog.
    I was struck by how much the children learnt on this microadventure – science, maths, art, story telling, physical education, as well as all the non-curriculum stuff that’s good to learn.
    I think this is a better way to spend a day’s education budget than just another day in the classroom.
    And I think it’s a bit sad that I even wrote that last sentence! These are kids! They ought to be jumping in rivers, listening to birds and camping out. There’s plenty of time in life to learn calculus and the periodic table!

  24. Andy June 11, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    What ages are we taking about?

    If the child over age of 12 learns the same amount of math or history by everyday life unstructured playing and in classroom, then math and history lessons in his school sux big time. As in they are compete waste of time.

    I also believe that small kids do not need formal classes at all.

  25. hineata June 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    @Andy – the children in the video appear to be under 12. At least based on the ways my primary school kids speak and act. And in England, with its long period of human habitation, I think you could just about teach history walking down any street or across any field – something, even incredibly mundane, would have happened there, wherever ‘there’ is.

  26. Heike Larson June 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Sad indeed that this happens so rarely! In Montessori, students ideally do lots of “mini-adventures.” They are called “going out” trips, and the children plan them, go on them, and reflect on them. And some schools expand from these trips to multi-day adventures.

    Tonight, my six-year-old daughter isn’t home, because her entire class of six- to ten-year-old children is on a four-day camping trip, 25 children with just four adults. They went white water rafting, explored a gold mine, and went fishing. They prepared their own food on picnic tables, using sharp knives and cooking over camping stoves. And, of course, they roasted marshmallows over campfires and slept in tents.

    I can’t wait to hear the stories when she comes back tomorrow. I expect she will bubble over with excitement, be even more in love with learning and the world, and stand taller from the confidence this experience will have given her.

  27. Natalie June 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    Hi Andy, Aubrey, I don’t think of this as a replacement to a regular curriculum, it’s not either/or, but complimentary. Like a field trip.
    You’re right in that it’s not going to replace a good foundation for calculus and the like, I don’t think that’s the point. This is a special activity which compliments a child’s standard learning.