Educational school trips benefit primary school pupils in many ways, and can be inspiring, positive experiences that not only enhance learning and understanding, but also pupils’ social and personal development.
School trips provide the opportunity for pupils to immerse themselves in new, different and exciting environments where learning is less formal – but sometimes more powerful – and a recreational element threads through their day.
Educational visits also benefit pupils who have a more kinaesthetic, sensory or visual way of learning, as well as SEND pupils who might struggle in a traditional classroom environment.
Pupils can obviously learn well in a classroom environment and a school trip can benefit and reinforce that learning, acting as a practical supplement and extension to the theory that pupils already know. It is easier to illustrate complex concepts in a real-world context, especially when there are experts on hand to give workshops or talks about particular subjects.
Increasing motivation and engagement
Taking learning outside of the classroom and into real life sparks excitement and curiosity, imagination and creativity. All of these things translate into a renewed interest in the subject learned, and increase motivation and engagement when you’re back in the classroom.
Improving understanding by getting hands-on
Using their hands as well as their minds helps pupils not only to better understand a subject, but also to retain what they learn for longer. Learning in this way is also most effective when it’s relevant to real life, as it is on a school trip, because it’s easier for pupils to relate to what they’re doing.
Developing 21st century skills
There is much talk of 21st century skills – and for good reason. Problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, teamwork and communication are vital skills to have in our social, academic and professional lives. School trips benefit pupils by encouraging these types of skills and putting them into practice.
Engaging different types of learners
We don’t all learn in the same way, and taking pupils out of a classroom setting and into a practical, informal learning environment benefits those who may learn better kinaesthetically or visually. Many school trips use multimedia and physical interaction with machines, objects, artefacts, or nature, which encourages and engages different types of learners.
Supporting pupils with SEND
Educational school trips have definite benefits for pupils with SEND. Learning outside the classroom can support them in reaching their potential and provide them with real-life experiences. Children with SEND often learn best through doing, and through sensory learning that enables them to see, hear, smell, and touch.
Experiencing new environments
Pupils experience new environments and sights that they would not be able to at their desk, and for some pupils a school trip may be the only way they would see and experience new places. Educational visits in your local area can also foster a sense of community, especially for non-native speakers.
And finally…having fun!
There is of course a fun aspect to any educational visit, an element of recreation and a break from routine. And that’s fantastic! Children should be encouraged to enjoy learning, creating special childhood memories that last a lifetime.
Learning outside the classroom “encourages exciting extensions to the repertoire of good teachers everywhere” (Children Learning Outside the Classroom– From Birth to Eleven, edited by Sue Waite, 2017), and according to Ofsted’s report Learning outside the classroom: How far should you go?, it contributes significantly to raising standards, at its most successful when it’s an integral element of long-term curriculum planning and closely linked to classroom activities.