Field Trips Just Got Smarter.

Essential Experiences is the name of a $1.2 million initiative from GAR Foundation that provides preschool and elementary students at Akron Public Schools with a meaningful learning experience outside of the classroom. Students in preschool, and first through fifth grade will visit six local cultural and historical organizations to participate in educational programming directly connected to their classroom learning. Roughly 8,000 students will participate in the program over three years.

The field studies take place at the following locations:

  • Preschool: ArtSparks (on site in the school classrooms)
  • First Grade: Akron Zoo and ZooMobile (on site and in the classrooms)
  • Second Grade: Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Third Grade: Hale Farm & Village
  • Fourth Grade: Akron Art Museum
  • Fifth Grade: Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

Each experience was carefully designed by Learning Specialists at Akron Public Schools and the host organizations to include specific learning objectives that are directly tied to the teacher’s lesson plan and Ohio Learning Standards. Each experience includes pre-visit and post-visit activities, age-appropriate college and career targets, and technology elements.

Three important elements make these experiences more robust than a traditional field trip:

  • Curriculumbased: the experiences are designed by professional educators to connect directly to the content being taught and learned in students’ own  classrooms.
  • Equity and inclusion: Prior to this initiative, field trips were not guaranteed for every child and every classroom across the district. Essential Experiences ensures that every child in every participating  grade gets to have the same valuable experience.
  • ConsistencyEssential Experiences provides students with a consistent, hands-on, grade-appropriate experience to support their learning each year. 

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