Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Field Trip Dilemma

I just found out that Sabi's grade level field trip will be an excursion to John's Incredible Pizza. I am SO not happy. I am a firm believer in educational field trips for children. On top of that, I HATE John's Incredible Pizza.

I have been to J.I.P. for their "field trip" before when Sabi was in Pre-School. The field trip is essentially a 2 hour long self promoting commercial for them. The kids are not educated on the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of the pizza or where the ingredients come from. All they do on this trip is make their own pizza, get a guided tour around the place and then get to eat their pizza and play a bit.

Why do I hate the place? J.I.P. is noisy and crazy but I really don't hate it for that. One of my biggest problems with the place is their HUGE arcade. I think that kids today are playing with video games too much and are not seeing the link between fantasy and reality. Some of the games that they have at J.I.P. are very violent and just inappropriate for children. One of the games has life size mannequins of 20's era gangsters with machine guns, etc. I was appalled just to see it in the building.

The other thing that I can't stand about that place is what is does to kids. I have been to several birthday parties there and the kids get absolutely nuts there. It is probably a combination of too much junk to eat in their all you can eat food/drink bar, the loud noise and the lure of the goodies that can be redeemed with tickets earned from all of the games. Give a kid about 20 minutes in that place and they will transform from a calm and quiet child to a non-compliant and smart mouthed kid. There is too much stimulation in one place and it is bound to drive anyone up the wall.

So - what do I do about this field trip situation? I do not want to allow Sabina to go for many reasons. I know that she will be very upset at me because "everyone else is going mom!" As an educator and as a parent though I feel that I just can't allow her to go because it is sending a message that I think that this type of school sanctioned activity, during school time is ok.

What are your thoughts?


paz said...

Although the venue for the school trip has already been picked, have you informed those in charge/responsible about your concerns -- why you don't think it's the best place for a school trip? They probably won't change it now but perhaps they'll take it into consideration the next time they pick a place to take the kids....

I definitely understand and agree with your concerns. From the sounds of it, Sabi is a very intelligent girl. Will this trip really affect her so negatively, if it's an important trip to her? Is it an important trip to her?

If you let her go, does it really mean that you sanction it?

I don't envy your dilemna... Good luck with your decision.


Nimitz' Lady said...

My take, if you feel that strongly about it sit Sabi down and explain precisely, in detail why you're not letting her go.

If she still complains that all the other kids are going I always like the response, 'I'm not *their* mother.'

When it comes down to it, you'd be teaching her as much about your values as you would be protecting her from an environment you disapprove of.

Just my 2 cents. Good Luck with an always difficult decision. =)

Nimitz' Lady

GuusjeM said...

What will she do if she doesn't go?
Will she get to go to the library and hang out and read (something that happens at my school sometimes) or will she be sent to another class with a very boring packet of worksheets (something else that happens). At my school where the kid goes depends on if they are missing the field trip due to parental objections or behavior.

And I agree with a you, a field trip to a pizza place is a pretty lame excuse for a field trip. What's wrong with the zoo?

jennifer said...

I wonder if you could also write a letter to whoever decided on this location for a field trip so that you can voice your concerns. Yes, the decision has already been made this time, but a letter from a concerned might make them reconsider their next field trip.