As part of our social studies course, the 11th grade took a 6 day trip to Pennsylvania. The three main objectives of the trip were to study coal mining conditions in the mining towns themselves and to visit farms of the Amish and Mennonite people in the Lancaster area.
—from INFO, the EI newspaper, April-May 1954
Field trips are central to the LREI experience. Those of you who have been with us for many years already know this well. Children begin taking trips early on – first to other parts of our own school building, then the block, the neighborhood, other neighborhoods, and eventually overnight to the farm. Elisabeth Irwin believed strongly in the value of taking students out into the world, as part and parcel of teaching about social injustices (visiting a coal mine) and as a way to acknowledge children as whole people, not just vessels to be filled with “schooling”. She also spoke and wrote, as John Dewey did, about the mandate for school to be an authentic and whole experience of life rather than something that precedes it.At the same time, our trips are often the moment we can see our everyday emphasis on inquiry, grappling, discussion, connection and critique bear fruit. Our bar for students in school is high. We expect them to engage authentically with ideas, to listen carefully and critically, to wonder, test and deconstruct rather than just take things at face value.