By Jake Darling
On what was described as a cold, wet, and rainy day, Collegiate kindergarteners took their first field trip. At 8:15 a.m. on October 13th, the kindergarteners left for Carter Mountain Orchard, where they would spend the rest of the school day learning about apples. The kindergarteners traveled an hour to Charlottesville, Virginia while watching what some claimed to be their favorite movie, Scooby-Doo.
When they arrived, the students quickly began picking apples off the trees, which, according to their teachers, were just the right height for the students to reach on their own. After picking their favorite types of apples for an hour, the students were taken to what is known as apple school. While attending apple school, the students learned about the life cycle of apples, the different types of apples, and how different seasons affect apple trees. The students were supposed to have a picnic after their lessons, but due to the poor weather they had to eat their lunches on the bus.
However, their excitement in recounting lunch indicated they enjoyed eating on the bus just as much. After lunch, the students were able to get apple cider donuts before the ride back to Richmond.
After talking with several kindergarten teachers, I found that this trip is more than just a way to get the kids to enjoy themselves outside. Beth Wilson, the assistant teacher working with kindergarten teacher Beth Ann Shelly, said the field trip was “a culminating lesson where they were exploring the real life science.” Several teachers explained that it was a great experience for the kids because they had just finished their unit learning about apples and their life cycle. Debra Lappan, the assistant teacher in kindergarten teacher Sydney O’Neill’s class, said that the field trip “directly correlates to the study of apple trees, how they grow, and the importance of pollination.” The students also learned about the meaning of dormancy and how different seasons affect the growth of apple trees. Paige Tinney-Reed, Elizabeth Andrews’ assistant teacher, told me she thought the trip was really fun and that kids “just don’t get the opportunity to pick fruit from the source, so that was wonderful.” Her class even had the opportunity to make fresh applesauce with the apples they picked on the trip.
While hanging out in Luck Hall a few days after the trip, I overheard a few kindergarteners talking about apples. The students went up to Shelly to talk about the apples she had brought for her snack, they talked to each other about what types of apples the other students had brought, and how they were eating more apples at home.
It’s obvious that field trips such as the trip to the apple orchard, while an exciting outing for the students, also help younger kids develop a love for the information they are learning. The kindergartners were incredibly enthusiastic to talk about everything that took place on the trip and every little fact they knew about apples and their life cycle. While visiting with the different classes, each questions was met with many students’ hands flying up. When asked how she felt about the trip, Annie, in O’Neill’s class, told me she “liked it because I liked picking the apples.” The trip was also described as “awesome” by Daisy, a student in Shelly’s class. In all the classes, the students were asked, “Did you have fun?” The response was always twenty loud kindergarteners shouting “Yes” in unison. It is clear the students thoroughly enjoyed this field trip.