Preschoolers Warm to Cool Summertime Learning

Summertime learning at Wellspring’s Early Learning Center just became more adventuresome and fun for our preschoolers.

From now through early October, they’re going on more than 21 different creative field trips. For many, it’s a first-time-ever-chance to stand in a tide pool and get sprayed by a squirting geoduck, or visit a zoo and see penguins waddle and giraffes stand tall.

“Our summer learning excursions extend the ELC classroom to the natural outdoors where children can see, touch, taste, smell and really experience life,” says Diane Brissenden, ELC program supervisor. You think about it: If a child hasn’t seen a monkey, a sea star or a penguin, he or she has no concept of one. It takes actually seeing, experiencing and interacting for a child to build a vocabulary and a concept of the animal. It’s how learning takes place.”

The field trips deliver another key benefit. Says Diane, “Parents and guardians of our ELC students are trying to find meaningful work and a place to live, so these fun, interactive visits to places like the Seattle Aquarium and the Pike Place Market are things their children would likely not otherwise experience.”

Care to guess the two most popular ELC field trips?

  • One is “Small Frye,” an inventive storytelling program hosted by the Frye Art Museum, in which ELC preschoolers get to hear a tale told out loud--and then stand up and move around to act it out.
  • There’s an upcoming trip to Green Plate Special, a Seattle non-profit where students come and help to harvest and prepare vegetables from the GPS gardens.  Seeing how food is grown and where it comes from helps children appreciate healthy choices for eating.

Add in a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island, some hands-on experiments at the Pacific Science Center, and a face-to-face meeting with the Fremont Troll and you’ve got some cool learning adventures to go with a hot summer.

One thing’s for sure: The ELC preschoolers will be smiling as they step down off the van into their parents’ arms. As one girl exclaimed, “Mommy, today, I touched a sea star.”