Home Opinion Editorials Friday Expeditions enhance learning
Friday Expeditions enhance learning
Televisions and computers, when used right, are wonderful educational
tools. Who doesn’t enjoy a good Discovery Channel program or doing
computer research on World Series history, the 39 ways to make beef
stew or snow records for October?
But when school is out of session on Fridays, and students are looking for activities to fill their time, TVs and computers can’t totally replace what can be learned in a classroom, or on a field trip, from a dynamic and caring teacher. Many adults — and students too — believe school is more than just a four-day-a-week job. It is an important part of life 24x7, from toddlerhood to the golden years. A new program in Elgin, Friday Expeditions, is proving just how rewarding enhanced educational opportunities can be, not only for students but also for their instructors.
Friday Expeditions is being spearheaded by dedicated educators Bob and Susie Thomas. It’s their response to Elgin schools going from a five-day-a-week to a four-day-a-week program. The Thomases wanted to make sure Elgin students had ample opportunities for educational stimulation in their new down time.
Friday Expeditions provides those additional opportunities. Volunteer teachers can find ways to unlock students’ talents. Students can discover their gifts. Coupled with challenging, competitive public schools, Friday Expeditions is a good investment in the future. The education students receive there will help them open more doors in their careers and as productive, contributing members of the community.
Caring citizen teachers help make the program a success. The citizen teachers deserve a round of applause for going the extra mile in teaching diverse classes from wetland biology, astronomy and geocaching to water safety and golf.
The Thomases have organized an impressive collection of 54 learning expeditions. But there are not enough opportunities for every child every week. Some children must be turned away when classes are full. More teachers are needed. Teachers can choose their own topic, grade level, class size and time. Anyone with a special talent willing to share with children can call the Thomases at 437-2705 to volunteer.
Here’s hoping the program can continue to grow, giving students more hands-on opportunities for educational enrichment.