At our state-licensed preschool, we make sure that even a field trip to a pumpkin patch is a meaningful learning experience for our youngest scholars.

In October, 27 preschoolers boarded a big yellow bus provided by longtime supporter JFK Transportation and headed out to the pumpkin patch at Irvine Regional Park.

It was the 13th time KidWorks preschoolers visited the pumpkin patch over the years. And it was the very first field trip of this academic year for the youngsters.

While the trip was packed with fun, it was also a chance to integrate ongoing STEAM lessons into the experience. STEAM, project-based learning, is an abbreviation for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.

“The children have been learning about the fall harvest and all that happens around this season, such as foods and crops harvested, the life cycle of the pumpkin, the weather and color changes in trees,” says Idalia Galdamez, our Preschool Director.

Adds Idalia, “The children loved seeing STEAM in all its forms at the pumpkin patch. They marveled at the various sizes of the pumpkins and were thrilled to see horses, ponies, peacocks, ducks and geese right before their eyes.”

Idalia explains that “for many of the children, it was their first time being around a large group of people. This field trip really reinforced what they’ve learned this first quarter of preschool: safety, STEAM and social-emotional learning.”

The social-emotional trust aspect of the field trip was crucial, Idalia explains.  We were able to identify how each child did with self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship skills and their decision making in the environment out of the classroom setting.

“Many of our students were born during the pandemic; therefore, most have experienced only the indoor environment and small group settings,” she says. “The field trip was a new and positive experience for them.”

Of course, no field trip would be complete without loads of fun.

“The children experienced riding a yellow bus for the first time,” Idalia says. “They enjoyed a 90-minute tour of the pumpkin patch, including train and hay wagon rides, a pumpkin for each child to take home, a hay maze, haunted house, lots of laughter and beautiful memories.”

The children couldn’t stop expressing their joy for days after the field trip.

Enrique kept asking to go on the bus again; he also gained confidence by attending the field trip on his own without his parents present.

Irene, another student, also kept talking about how exciting it was to ride a bus.

KidWorks thanks preschool volunteers Vicki Randall and Susan Denenholz, who assisted during the field trip.We are also grateful to parents who lent a hand during the day.

JFK Transportation has been providing transportation for our preschool since 2009 and also made this day very special for our youngsters.

We are proud to continue the pumpkin patch field trip tradition for yet another class of KidWorks preschoolers.

By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer