17 April 2017

Field trip, 1947

Post-War Field Trips

Minneapolis school children from Hay and Willard Elementary schools, as well as a South St. Paul group, wait at the Great Northern railroad station to board a train for St. Paul. Schools around the city have started taking field trips again after ceasing during war-time. As many as 450 children a day are touring farms, trains, zoos, industries, and historic sites.
-- Minneapolis Morning Tribune, April 25, 1947
From the Stuff About Minneapolis tumblr.

I have fond memories of field trips from my childhood, when a day spent touring a factory was deemed as important to education as a day in a classroom.  I think it's important for young children to see - in person, not on film - a working assembly line, an animal barn, a railroad train etc etc etc.

I don't know to what extent such trips are undertaken nowadays (readers...?).  I would concede that it must be a headache for a businessperson to host dozens of unrestrained fourth-graders, but I think if such ventures are not taken, a learning experience is omitted.


  1. Whatever their frequency in absolute terms, I bet that school field trips are a lot more common than fond memories of them!

  2. I, also, took many educational field trips as a student in a small Christian school. Once I became a school administrator, I discovered that it was getting more difficult to schedule them. A lot of places don't won't/can't have the students through because of the liability they pose. It's a shame that the tours are mostly not available anymore . I have great memories of those trips.

  3. In our district, each grade level takes about two field trips per school year. They're generally either cultural or scientific experiences: a play, the orchestra, the zoo, a museum or science center, etc.

  4. I work at Raspberry Pi, a UK charitable foundation that makes small, affordable (sub-$35) computers, and aims to educate people (and especially kids) about computing. We manufacture under licence at a Sony plant in Wales. We work with Sony to organise school visits to the factory, which take place at least once a week for kids over ten years old.

    As well as touring the factory floor and observing the production line, the kids get to take part in classes and activities; it's an important part of Sony's corporate social responsibility in Wales, and we're very proud to be a part of it. You can read more, and see some video of what they get up to, at http://www.sonypencoed.co.uk/road-to-zero/.

  5. Slightly off topic but I find the clothes amusing. A lot of the girls look like tiny middle-aged housewives. (Especially the ones in the front at the far right.)

    I do remember field trips fondly, from when I was a kid. But, invariably, my main memories are of things like the ice cream sandwich I bought from a vending machine in the cafeteria of the Museum of Natural History in New York City, or the gift shops! But I'm sure I must have learned some things from the experience, if only subliminally.

    My memories from chaperoning field trips I remember less fondly. One children's museum had literally six exits from one room, that was over-brimming with multiple classes of second-graders. The literal second my little group of five entered the room, boom, they scattered like a firecracker going off and disappeared into the crowd! I spent most of that field trip panicking and trying to shepherd them together and not lose any!

  6. In what sense is it important for them to see those things? If you mean broad exposure to ideas and experiences is important I agree completely. But very few of them will need to see those things for their employment.

    According to BLS Statistics 7.1% of them will work in manufacturing (on an assembly line), and perhaps 1.3% in agriculture (in a barn).

    And those might be overestimates. Modern farm equipment is already awfully close to becoming completely autonomous GPS enabled mega-drones.

    1. My comment was in regard to understanding how the world works. I think children should visit a farm, spend time on a farm, not just be told what a farm is. Same with a factory. Or a science lab.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...