Field trips are a vital part of life at Olympia Community School. It’s a time for OCS students to play, learn about the subject at hand, and be a group out in public. These events strengthen bonds among each other and the larger community. Volunteers play a critical part in making field trips happen. Typically field trips happen on two Fridays out of each month.
Annual Field Trips
Especially at the beginning of the school year, many field trips are annual traditions the children eagerly anticipate.
Kennedy Creek Salmon
Few OCS field trips are as beloved as the annual trip to Kennedy Creek near Summit Lake. There, the children, teachers, and volunteer parents and grand-parents are divided into small groups and taken on a guided tour. The always-excited children see Chum salmon returning by the thousands to spawn. Teachers with the South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group take the groups from station to station along the heavily forested creek. They clearly explain the salmon life cycle and it’s place in the life cycle of the ocean, fresh water, forest, and the creatures who depend on it all, including humans. The life cycle of the salmon, from eggs all the way to spawning and death, is explained with great sensitivity and care, giving the kids perhaps their first understanding of the great circle of life.
Bicycling is encouraged and supported at OCS as a lifetime ethic. During Bike Week, the kids bring their bikes, including those with training wheels, to school. The kids ride during outdoor play in the large parking lot, which is cordoned off. There is at least one field trip during the week, such as to Priest Point or Barclift parks, where the kids have more room to ride in a safe environment. Volunteers help transport bikes and be with the kids and make sure they're safe. Bike Week usually happens once or twice a year.
Lattin’s Cider Mill
Every October, the kids and teachers have an outing at Lattin’s Cider Mill, a very welcoming environment. They get a look at the pumpkins, drink cider if they wish, and generally enjoy the spirit of the harvest season with each other and the adults.
Trips to the Puget Sound shore
The shorelines of Puget Sound are a classroom of fascination of the kids and adults alike. There is so much to see, smell, touch, and learn — from the seaweed, shells and rocks, to aquatic life. Fry Cove is a favored destination for these trips.
One-time Field Trips
After the classes are accustomed to field trip basics, the teachers often plan special field trips to destinations off the beaten path. Often these one-time field trips connect to the theme of the school year which teachers develop with student interest in mind. For instance, this year’s theme is “Up in the Air” and includes units on Weather, Space and Rockets, and much more. This theme made a trip to Seattle’s Museum of Flight especially exciting.
The Museum of Flight
A more recent outing is a trip to the fabulous Museum of Flight in Seattle. The kids and many volunteers love it. There is so much to see, touch and learn about, from fully assembled airplanes of old to the cockpit of the very real Space Shuttle trainer. This particular field trip fit into the OCS theme for 2013-14 which is “Up in the Air”.