TREE FARM TRIP CREATES HANDS-ON CONNECTION TO STANDARDS
The kindergarteners of Fairview Elementary School now know all there is about Christmas Trees. Fort Smith Public Schools Foundation Directors enthusiastically award this Instructional Mini-Grant in the field trip category because of its well-defined connection to Arkansas learning standards.
“Kindergarten Gathers Around the Christmas Trees” allows 80 students to visit the Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farm in Charleston, Arkansas to learn all about a working Christmas tree farm. Mary McCain, Fairview Kindergarten teacher and grant recipient, said that “by stimulating the children’s senses, we are engaging multiple styles allowing for all children to experience success.” The students enjoyed a hayride around the farm, picking candy canes, watching how a tree is cut and wrapped, listening to Mrs. Clause read a story, hot chocolate, petting farm animals and learning how to feed them.
“Kindergarten Gathers Around the Christmas Trees” addresses many Arkansas State Standards for Kindergarten in Literacy, Science and Social Studies. Prior to the trip, the students read and discuss the planting and growing process of the trees. The students also learn about the differences between a real Christmas tree and an artificial tree. With this discussion, they will also learn about consumers and producers. Then this field trip gets kids out in the fresh air and teaches the kids the process of how a tree grows, demonstrating for students the life-cycle standards that are embedded in the science curriculum. Reading about a holiday and its impact on a community meets standards in the literacy curriculum. “KWL” charts will be used. These cover what we know, what we want to learn and what we learned.
Along with the 80 students and their four kindergarten teachers, the group has had as many as 30 parents attend to help and experience for themselves what their children are learning. The parents and siblings who join the trip attend at no cost which expands the learning. After the trip the kindergarteners go home and share what they have experienced. The students will make real life connections that will result in a concrete memory.