It is good to often see busloads of our primary school students visiting the museum and other places of interest in the city. I myself do not recall making these school tours to the city as a child in BV Primary School. But I do vividly recall one class tour to the biscuit factory at the BV Industrial Site. I remember not only because of the free sweet biscuits we received, but also because of the fascination in seeing a mass production system in operation.
Which brings me to the point of this letter and to ask the question: Do our primary schools capitalise on the learning opportunities within their own neighbourhoods? For example, within walking distance of today’s BV Primary School are factories, a GT&T telephone exchange, a TV broadcast station, a bank, a seashore with mangroves, areas with natural habitats, and a health centre. Community assets also include residents who have knowledge and skills in some field and who are willing to engage students.
By thoughtful use of these assets, teachers can meet valuable learning outcomes such as linking classroom instruction to the real-world, as well as building understanding among our kids of society, nature, the environment, and technology.
I am sure each primary school can compile a list of these learning assets within their own neighborhoods and use them with clear learning outcomes in mind. Tours require no transportation or other costs. They can be conducted more regularly and effectively than long, one-off outings to the city or elsewhere.
To be sure, kids do get excitement from long bus rides that would be missing from a walk within the village. These tours should continue. But let’s expand the learning experience of our young students by fully mapping and creatively using the resources in the community around each school.