We all have fond memories of going on field trips with our class in school. Your teacher would announce where you’d be going, you’d bring home a permission slip, and excitedly show up the morning of the trip, eager to see what the day would bring! What if you could have chosen the destination of your field trip? Where would you have gone and what would you have explored? What skills would you need in order to plan out such a trip?
In a Montessori elementary classroom, it is often the students who plan their field trips or “going outs”. If a student is researching a particular topic and would like to learn more, they have the option of planning a trip to go and find the information or the resources that they are seeking. Going outs might involve only one or two students or the larger group and can range from a trip to the local grocery store to a beach camping trip.
The planning process involves seeking approval and support from their guide, researching what will be required to make the trip, coordinating with the destination as needed, using a map to plan out the directions to get there, and planning any additional details that may be required. Take a moment to consider all of the skills a student needs in order to complete such a task! Some of this skill building began back in primary when the student may have helped plan a class picnic or practiced how to introduce themselves to others. Other skills are taught gradually throughout the student’s time in elementary. Lessons on reading a map, keeping a budget, and writing a letter are all integrated into the Montessori curriculum and could easily come into play when planning a going out. What a valuable and empowering experience to have as a young student!