Corlears Field Trips: Exploring the World Outside Our Classrooms
This week, our kindergarteners and 8/9s classes took their classroom lessons on the road and ventured out to nearby New York City landmarks – the Central Park Zoo and the Apollo Theater in Harlem – for field trips.
“One thing I always loved when I was a student was how many different types of field trips we were able to take being located in Manhattan,” Josh, an 8/9s co-teacher at Corlears, recalls of his own experience growing up in New York City. As a teacher, he and his co-teacher are able to build studies around the many historical landmarks and culturally vibrant neighborhoods in New York City.
For the kindergarteners, who have been studying different types of jobs and occupations, the field trip to the Central Park Zoo was a practical way to see the role of Zookeeper in action while also learning more about nature and animals.
“Many of our kindergartners have been to the zoo or read books about the animals that live in a zoo. We then became curious about how a zookeeper takes care of the animals,” Olympia, a Corlears kindergarten teacher, notes. “We wondered if the animals have medicine, where they lived before coming to the zoo, and if the babies were fed different food? We read books like “I Want to be a Zookeeper” by Dan Liebman, and watched videos such as ‘Baby Fiona’, and we used each other as a resource.”
The 8/9s tour of the legendary Apollo Theater helped bring their studies of the Harlem Renaissance to life.
“We’ve been looking back about 100 years to what Harlem looked like at that time. Through our read-alouds and research, we kept coming back to the Apollo,” Josh says. “Lots of figures had connections to it over the years, and we wanted to show our community that it isn’t some place that has faded in history. It’s a vibrant cultural center that still hosts major performances – and it’s just a short subway ride away.”
“It’s a way to bring our study from 100 years up to the present.”
Over the years, students at Corlears have also taken trips to Ellis Island, the Tenement Museum, Union Square Farmers Market, Inwood Hill Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History, Clearpool – and many other New York City-area institutions. All of these trips help our students connect their learning in the classroom to the world around them. What’s more, field trips support inquiry-based learning, which is an essential piece of the Corlears curriculum.