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Primary students of Fuzhou Lakeside International School recently completed a three-week study trip to Jiangle, where third, fourth, and fifth graders spent a fulfilling time at the Jiao-Hu Skylark Field Studies Center.



At the beginning of the trip, teachers and parents were both excited and worried: it was the first time for many children to go out of town without their parents, would they be able to take care of themselves? Would the students be too excited to focus when the classroom environment changed? How would they get along with wild animals and plants in nature? Indeed, these concerns are justified. Once the study began in the area, the group encountered a number of difficulties that they hadn't previously envisioned, such as the 5th grade opportunities for astronomy lessons at night being taken away due to rainy weather. But at the same time, the students' performance in the new environment was very impressive: many of the younger kids showed great adaptability, and the amount of English used even outside of class was surprising. 3rd graders tried hard to help each other and to speak English around students who don’t have a strong Chinese speaking ability, which was quite a friendly gesture.


"Human experience is so much bigger than here and now." 此时此地的我们为何向往彼时彼地?或许,不断开拓边界、获取新经验正是生而为人的本能,是走出狭隘、让人生变得更加开阔的一步。我们为不同年级的学子设计了不同主题的研学课程,关于物质,关于自然,关于社会情感学习。独立生活能力变强是大部分研学学子共同的收获。也许是有生以来第一次,他们要扛起照顾自己的责任:定制作息、整理衣物被榻、与同伴商量洗漱时间……这大大促进了孩子社会情感的发展。在这段时间里,每个孩子与同学在一起的时间骤增,团队合作的重要性也更为凸显,课堂内外,学子都需要通力协作,获取更全面的探究成果,或在竞赛中赢得胜利。四年级教师观察到皮划艇课上的一幕:前行过程中,有个学生落在了全班后头,但他并没有被抛下——所有人大声为他加油助威、鼓励他直至小船抵达终点。

"Human experience is so much bigger than here and now." Why do we in the “here and now” long for the “there and then”? Perhaps it is our natural instinct to keep exploring boundaries and acquiring new experiences, and it is a step out of the narrowness of our lives to become more open. We have designed a variety of curricula for different grades with different themes, about matter, about nature, and about social-emotional learning. A common gain for most of the students is the ability to live independently. Maybe for the first time in their lives, they are responsible for taking care of themselves: customizing their routines, keep their personal items organized, and plan bathroom and shower schedules with one another… This contributes greatly to the social-emotional development of the students. During this time, each kids’ time with classmates skyrockets, and the importance of teamwork becomes even more pronounced, both inside and outside the classroom, as learners need to collaborate to gain a more complete picture of their investigations, or to win a competition. A fourth-grade teacher observed a scene in a kayaking class in which one of the students fell a little behind the rest of the class, and everyone banded together to shout encouragement for this student as he approached the finish line. “This kind of experience shows the camaraderie and team spirit of the students in this class.”


The design of the curriculum is closer to daily life. 5th graders observed the process of how matter changes different states in their favorite cooking classes; the farming classes was enthusiastically received by a large number of students, who learned how the food on their tables comes from the farm to the store - one group of fourth graders even went back to the farm to help others after harvesting their own row of rice, simply (and perhaps somewhat surprisingly) because they found it so exciting to do the work! Fifth-graders experienced the threshing process; some collected the grains in disposable cups as if they were treasures, while others asked the instructor about the follow-up process. In fact, this study trip was full of examples of students exploring on their own initiative due to their strong interest: at first, some students were very afraid of insects in the natural environment, but as the theme course " Learning in and about Nature" gradually unfolded, they were even curious enough to catch a few and study them carefully, not because of the teacher's instructions - it was purely out of interest.



While acquiring new experiences and skills, students may also have the ability to think differently: once upon a time, they did not think about what it meant to be well taken care of by their families, nor did they know how hard food was to come by. But now, after experiencing everything for themselves, kids learn to appreciate it.



For teachers, this is also a harvest season! In the nature theme study, the third grade teachers were surprised to find that many students had already mastered the knowledge of cleaning water and building fires, and their enthusiastic questioning took them beyond the topics they had planned to cover, extending their own learning; and after a long time in the new environment, the teachers also have a better understanding of the personality and specialties of students, which enables them to better tailor their teaching to the different needs and abilities of the students and to give them different kinds of help and guidance.



Back to campus, back to the "here and now". We hope that the students can internalize this experience to help them in their future study and life, and we will see you in the next study trip!