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The brave and the foolhardy: Excursions in early childhood contexts in Aotearoa New Zealand

Lisa Terreni and Debbie Ryder

Excursions (field trips) can provide new and exciting learning opportunities outside schools and early childhood education (ECE) centres, adding new dimensions to an education programme. This article presents the findings from two doctoral studies by Terreni (2017) and Ryder (2019). Terreni, as part of a mixed-method approach, undertook a large-scale national questionnaire which asked early childhood teachers in New Zealand about the degree to which early childhood teachers undertake excursions, where they take children, and what facilitators or barriers occur. Ryder used semistructured interviews to explore teacher and parent perspectives on physical activity between the home and the ECE context, giving teachers and parents the opportunity to discuss excursions as an everyday physical experience both in the home and ECE setting. The findings suggest that excursions are, for the most part, alive and well in ECE centres. However, it was clear that, although many parents and teachers value excursions, there are factors that can either facilitate or hinder them from occurring.

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