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June 23, 2005

A Study of Certain Field Trip Phenomenon

Filed under: — pati @ 23:23 GMT

It has been one week since attending my son’s kindergarten field trip to Happy Hollow, and long enough to let the experience settle within my being to write about it.

I have been on several field trips before, so I was not a complete newbie. I had assisted teachers in herding children through the Teddy Bear Factory, end-of-year celebrations and Sean’s Jr. Kindergarten trip to Happy Hollow. (For those of you that aren’t California, Bay Area residents, Happy Hollow is a cross between a zoo and a fairground, plenty of animals & rides for the kids) However what was new in this experience was that, with 90 kindergarteners in tow, the teachers had plenty of parents lined up to escort a group of children. And my group had Sheri, Shannon, Soo-Young and my son Sean. I also had Sheri, who was a twin, and her sister was on the other bus with her mother. I learned quickly that Sheri had, um, strong feelings about this. Sheri’s mother and I quickly made plans to meet up at the park in order to deter further theatrics.

The bus ride brought back memories of my grade school days and the coveted back-of-the-bus seats. Nothing bounces like the seats beyond the last row of tires on a bus. My four charges opted to let the entire entourage know when vehicles were about to pass our bus, (CAR!!! CAR!!!) until several classmates encouraged silence. I knew then I had a lively group.

There is a phenomenon that occurs during certain field trips, especially those that are held at places with play equipment. First, if there is a group of children, they will run in equal and opposite directions. Second, the harder the children play and run, the more tired the ones responsible for said children will become. Needless to say, I was $%*I&%^ exhausted by the end of the day.

Note to playground authorities: Perhaps a sign should be posted near any self-propelled twirling device that reads “do not ride after lunch”. Fortunately my group rode before lunch, and equally as fortunate that each child opted to get off (after I dragged them) before they were too dizzy to walk. Not so with Christian, a boy from another group. And I was certainly not going to clean up after him.

I am now looking forward to another trip to the Teddy Bear Factory. And perhaps the Planetarium or library. I have learned my lesson: sign up early for the field trips. Get the ones that the kids are filed in orderly groups. Looking after your own child(ren) at a playground is harrowing enough.

But you’ve got to love the bus ride.

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