I used to plan field trips for preschoolers. Now I host them!
A long, long time ago (okay, 15 years) in a galaxy far, far away (actually, just down the road), I was a preschool teacher. Our worst field trip ever was to the carwash (I’m sorry, Eric, Erik, Jack, Max, Rachel, Lydia, Anne, and Johnny. I hope you’ve recovered). Our best field trips were outdoors to places like the now-defunct Ruhlig’s Pumpkin Patch.
I’ve been living on a small farm since 2001, but our animals were large: horses and cows. Large animals are scary for preschoolers. Even though our cows had calves, because they are free-range, they usually don’t let us get close to them. But this year, we will have pigs! My former co-worker, Laila, asked if they couldn’t come this way to see our little piggies. To get the bus for a field trip, you have to plan in advance, so we made a best guess of when the little wigglers would arrive and Laila booked the bus.
But, just as with human babies, piglets come when they’re good and ready. And these ones were not ready by the day of the field trip. But! We do have dogs and we do have a bottle fed calf who is friendly, and an enormous, bored sow ready for some company, and our neighbors have their own menagerie.
The toddlers brought treats for Rosalie (oranges, apples, cheese, tomatoes, grapefruit) and guessed what she’d like best. She ate it all. Some brave kids rubbed her big belly.
Then we walked in the fields to say hi to the cows, and walked over to the woods, where our neighbors have chickens, goats, and llamas! Everyone who wanted to got to feed and pet a goat. After all that fresh air, the kids needed a snack, which they shared with the dogs by accident. Before boarding the bus to go home, they got to sit on a big, blue tractor!