Excursions in child care you say? How much FUN!
While classrooms are essential learning spaces, the transformative power of excursions cannot be underestimated. These enriching and interactive experiences outside the classroom play a pivotal role in enhancing a child’s cognitive, emotional, social and physical development.
At Sanctuary, we encourage excursions across all of our age groups and we can get pretty creative with how these look.
In this blog we will explore the importance of offering excursions to child care aged children and the unique approach our Ashmore and Maudsland centres take to excursions.
Hands-on learning experience
Excursions offer young minds the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning experiences that go beyond traditional classroom settings. Whether it’s a visit to the local bush reserve, a supermarket, a zoo, or a local park, children can explore the world around them, stimulating their natural curiosity. The real-world encounters enable them to make meaningful connections between theoretical knowledge and practical applications, fostering a deeper understanding of a variety of subjects.
On a recent excursion to Burleigh Headland with one of our Aboriginal Elders, our Ashmore children were able to touch and feel a number of different textures and learn how specific aspects of nature were used by our Traditional Custodians of the land for thousands of years.
Stimulating cognitive development
The world outside the classroom is full of intriguing sights, sounds and textures that can ignite a child’s imagination and cognitive abilities. Excursions provide exposure to new environments, cultures, and perspectives; encouraging children to ask questions, solve problems, and think critically. This cognitive stimulation enhances their memory retention, analytical skills and overall mental development.
A simple excursion for our Maudsland children was visiting our Ashmore centre – this provided an opportunity to explore a new playground and class room setting, play with children of their age and learn as a bigger group. Creating opportunities to make new friends, explore new areas, new provocations and more.
Building social skills
Excursions provide children the opportunity to be out in our wonderful communities, exploring, connecting and learning.
Child care excursions create a supportive environment for children to develop essential social skills. Interacting with peers, caregivers, and members of the community helps them cultivate empathy, cooperation and effective communication. Learning to share, take turns, and collaborate during excursions fosters a sense of belonging and inclusion within a group setting.
A recurring excursion/incursion for our Ashmore centre is with a local Aged Care Centre; providing children intergenerational education, interaction with older members of the community and exposure to many different types of creativity.
Enhancing emotional intelligence
Emotions are a fundamental aspect of early childhood development. Excursions provide children with opportunities to experience a wide range of emotions in different settings. They may feel excitement, curiosity, or even a little nervousness. Caregivers play a crucial role during these outings, helping children understand and manage their emotions effectively. This process enhances emotional intelligence and teaches children to express their feelings in a healthy and constructive manner.
For example, when Maudsland embarked on their first ever bush kindy excursion for the year, Harry was a little scared that there may be a crocodile in the near-by creek. This not only provided an opportunity to dive into education around crocodiles and where they live, but also allowed Harry to express his feelings and work through them with his educators and peers.
Fostering physical development
Outdoor excursions are particularly beneficial for promoting physical development. From running around in the park to climbing structures and exploring nature trails, children engage in various physical activities that improve their motor skills, coordination, and overall physical health. Regular exposure to nature during excursions can also lead to an appreciation for the environment and a sense of environmental responsibility.
A sports carnival was arranged earlier in the year at our local park, providing our kindergarten aged children exposure to structured sport in a competitive environment, focussing on motor skills, coordination and physical activity.
Excursions at Sanctuary Early Learning Adventure
Each of our centres have a unique approach to how they conduct their excursions, which also ties into the unique program offering for the classroom environments they are enrolled.
If Sanctuary Ashmore could have a middle name, we can bet you it would be excursion!
Miss Serena has her Seagulls children (kindergarten age) out at least twice a week. Once a week you will find them in amongst the gum trees, exploring our beautiful hinterland for bush kindy and the second excursion for the week may involve a trip to the local cafe, a day at the beach or a visit to Infinite Aged Care (just to name a few!). These are just some of the excursions that have occurred for our Seagulls studio this year alone.
Excursions are also not just for our older children. Our Coral children (pre-kindergarten age) have just recently started their excursions, having visited the local supermarket and the nearby library. With our Starfish children (babies up to 18months of age) taking a trip downstairs to our learning centre with our Seagulls children and over to the local park for a play and a picnic.
Miss Vibha’s Seagulls children have also commenced weekly excursions, including their monthly bush kindy program. Other excursions for this studio include a trip to Gaven State School for their Under 8s Day and a trip to the local aged care facility, encouraging the centre’s intergenerational program.
The Starfish children will also be looking to go on pram walks around the area.
If your children haven’t been on an excursion yet, the big question to ask is – why not?
When the scariness of excursions has been conquered by one studio, it’s incredibly transferable in knowledge and teamwork to get the others started.
Like adults, being out in the community offers social interaction outside of four walls. It encourages curiosity and further opportunities for learning.
We have seen such an excitement rumble through both centres leading into excursions, questions from the children form part of their learning experiences and these cross over into their activities and provocations set for the day.
Once you get started, there is no looking back!