Going Outs… Aquarium take 3

Maria Montessori developed the “going out” in an attempt to connect children with the outside world.

“A true going out trip is one that is thought of, planned, organized, executed, and followed up by the child. With the older children (ages 9-12) it is an expression of independence and responsibility. Usually, an idea is planted while the child is doing research.” – http://montessoritraining.blogspot.co.za/2008/03/going-out-as-part-of-montessori.html

Grace has visited the Aquarium three times over the past three years as part of a going out. The first two times it felt like…. ‘Mmm I feel like going to the Aquarium, let me organise a going out’. Don’t get me wrong, the first two times the group did the planning for the trip, phoned the Aquarium, phoned a chaperone, organised how much money they needed to bring (which can cause some challenges), got directions, wrote up the information in the going out passport and have gone and learnt a thing or two. The skills learnt just from the preparation for the trip is amazing in itself and builds independence, responsibility, self confidence and a range of other skills.

Arriving at the Aquarium

I must be honest though when Grace told me in the first week of the new school year that she wanted to go to the Aquarium (on a going out) again, my first question was why? To which she answered “because I want to learn about jellyfish.” Over the December holidays Grace developed a bit of a fear of bluebottles and we had some discussions about jellyfish and bluebottles which seemed to have sparked some interest.

So keeping that in mind and with the permission of her directress, her and a classmate started doing some research on jellyfish and began the planning and organising of the going out. This time, instead of just arriving at the Aquarium, they arranged for a guide to answer their questions and went well prepared with about three pages of questions.

Although this trip caused Grace some anxiety with worries about whether they actually needed to pay for a guide, to the concern that they might not have a chaperone, she persevered through and really enjoyed getting the opportunity to ask her questions balanced with just having some fun exploring and playing at the Aquarium.  Their questions ranged from jellyfish related to “why is the ocean blue?” From the feedback I got they certainly kept their guide on his toes with the questions and it took him a few minutes to realise that although there were only two of them they were there to learn and had questions they wanted answered.

Having some fun with the exhibits

Question time

Its been interesting to see as Grace has entered her 3rd cycle (grade 3) in the lower elementary class how she has grown. She approached this outing with a desire to learn and came back full of interesting insights into the ocean and its creatures. I think the going out programme is such a wonderful opportunity to explore a topic that you are interested in,  find out the answers to your questions and then go back and share it with your class which they did today.

It would seem that her interest in the ocean and caring for our marine life has been sparked and she is in the beginning phases of organising a going out to Strand beach to do a beach clean up.

Feeding time at the predator tank



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