Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Field Trip is More Than Just a Puppet Show

My son’s class had their first and only field trip of the school year yesterday, and the first field trip since he started attending the school a year and a half ago.

When I was a kid, I recall that we went on a couple field trips every year. I am guessing that Kai’s school doesn’t have more trips because it is a therapeutic school for kids with behavior issues. If issues come up in school, they are equipped to handle it. But it is a lot more difficult when you are out in public.

We found out about the trip last week when Kai’s social worker at school called to talk about it. His class, she said, had just received an opportunity to go see a puppet show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Chicago. As that would mean about an hour drive each way, she wanted to know how Kai had been doing in the car lately.

She sounded concerned, maybe a little nervous, and a bit apprehensive. This was going to be a new experience for the staff, too. She said that she wanted to make sure that they took every measure to keep the kids safe and well behaved throughout the excursion. The anxiety I perceived in her made me a bit more anxious about how my son would do on the trip.

The school developed a social story to prepare the kids for what they would experience including the ride in the van to get there, parking, waiting for the show to start, how to behave in the theater, and the drive back.

We spoke to Kai for several days about appropriate behavior. I felt like we had prepared him as best we could, but nothing was ever certain with him.

The school asked parents to send along anything that might keep the kids occupied in the ride down to the museum. For Kai, we packed his favorite book about elements and a handheld electronic math game.

All day long, I wondered how he was doing. I was happy that at least we didn’t receive a call during the day to tell us to come get him.

In the afternoon, my wife went to pick him up at school. When she came home she said that Kai’s teacher had walked him out to the car. Usually, an aide brings him out. The teacher normally only comes out if there is something bad that she needs to tell us about.

But this time it was different.

She said that Kai did a wonderful job on the field trip. He read his elements book, chewed gum, and had a snack in the van to and from the puppet show. She said he really enjoyed the show, and afterward told her that he wanted to have more field trips to downtown Chicago. She wrapped up by saying that with Kai’s positive attitude and patience today, there is definitely the possibility of more field trips in his future.

For most, the purpose of a field trip is for kids to learn something beyond what they experience at school. And based on Kai’s enthusiasm afterward, I think that goal was met. But for us, nothing was more important than our son just being able to go, and then behave well enough for the opportunity to go again. And in that regard, the field trip was an unqualified success.

For Chicago area readers, there will be three more performances of the puppet show that Kai saw, The Man Who Planted Trees, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.


  1. Bravo for you and your son. On most of my son's field wife volunteered in some fashion in order to be able to monitor events. Our main problem was with Alex being so forgetful with items in his possession. He would always lose his jackets or other personal items.

    He is so much better now...he seems to always be thinking about other things instead of the present. I never really get upset with him for these faults...I was the same at his age.

    Your son is progressing well also. With our son...he was the most distracted in the winter months. It is far less pronounced now...but before...his teachers used to comment on how he would just have a faraway stare for much of the time from Nov through Jan or so. Anyway..with home has almost disappeared.

    We also used to dread the IEP meetings when the teachers would sometimes give reports of his forgetfulness and inattentiveness.

    He seems to have conquered so much in the past year. You are also reaping the rewards of your diligence with Kai. It is a wonderful feeling...that I know.

  2. My son is forgetful like that, too. It's good to hear that your son is better about that... gives me hope about my son.

    The lack of focus is a growing concern for us...

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Thanks. The way you describe Alex when he was younger sounds a lot like Kai. So, it is nice to hear that he is doing better with his attentiveness. We hope to see that type of progress with Kai.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...