Even though I’m no longer in the teaching profession I still find it difficult to switch off when I see an educational opportunity. The latest in myriad ex-teacher moments came when I was organizing our family vacation. I feel it’s important to introduce an element of learning whilst we’re away from home and on a previous trip to Europe we experienced: volcanoes in Italy, classical music in Austria and science at London’s museum, as well as lots more.
For our next trip I’d really like to concentrate on a destination that’s overflowing with educational options and so far I’ve narrowed my search down to two countries and two areas in each. Firstly, I’ve chosen the states because we’ve never been to either coast with the kids and I know for a fact that east and west are both stacked full of history and geography to name but a couple of study areas. Secondly, I’ve decided to go back to Europe and, in particular, France. We didn’t get a chance to visit on our last tour and from the snow-capped Alps to the WWII battlefields I really think the educational options are endless.
So, where to go? I’ve made a quick list below and hope by writing down the pros for each area I’ll be able to come up with a definitive answer. It’s nice to share too so if you’re considering where to take your family or even where to go on your next school trip, check out below and have a great trip y’all!
East Coast, America
Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are all extremely worthwhile destinations for an educational tour however, coming in at number one has to be DC especially with it being election year. School trips to Washington DC have always been up there with the best of them and thanks to the Smithsonian collection of museums it’s an affordable way to learn and have fun at the same time. The White House, Lincoln memorial and neighbourhoods such as Georgetown make Washington the learning place to be on the east coast.
French Alps, France
Hey, but what about Europe? I’ve always had a deep love of all things French and from the food to the fashion, personally I’d choose to go here at the drop of a velvet hat. However, what about the kids? What are they going to get from a trip across the pond? As a mother, compromise is often key to a stress-free vacation and summer camps in the French Alps offer just the right balance that I’m looking for. The kids get to enjoy all that clean, fresh mountain air whilst I get to head off to Paris for a spot of sightseeing. Activity camps in France are just awesome and from fostering independence to developing confidence and new skills, there’s no end to the positives.
Of course, France isn’t just about the food, fashion and mountain activities; the west coast, Normandy in particular, has a huge amount to offer from a historical point of view. The beaches and coastline functioned as one of the bloodiest battlegrounds in the whole of WWII and to this day the memorials and white crosses that remain serve as poignant reminders of the past. For me, this is the essence of an educational field trip and if my kids are going to gain first-hand experience of where young men, not much older than themselves, fought and lost their lives in the name of freedom, then this is the place to do it.
West Coast, America
The national parks and golden coastline of the west coast are simply stunning and from geography lessons on earthquakes in San Francisco to studying the giant sequoias in Yosemite, this is going to be one heck of a field trip! The west coast is just full of contrasts and the chance to show my kids the bright lights of Hollywood and LA as well as the clear night skies of the Mojave Desert fills me with complete and utter teacher joy. From the gold rush areas of California to the swap-meets along the Mexican border, this is what learning’s all about.
Biog: Nicola can’t wait to take her kids away on vacation and, no matter where they end up, you can guarantee that there’s going to be a whole lot of learning involved.