May 12, 2016
In April, Pre-K students from the Frances C. Smith School #50 in Elizabeth attended a storytelling festival at a place they might not have ever visited otherwise, the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Brunswick.
The visit was made possible with a $700 grant from Field Trip New Jersey, an endowment launched by the Community Foundation of New Jersey and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation to take students into new places that have the power to awaken, hush, awe, enrich, or otherwise positively change their lives.
According to Pre-K teacher Robin Drogin, the field trip did all of that and then some. Although an art museum might seem like the last place to engage four-year olds, Drogin said the students were rapt as they learned how to tell good stories.
The students have since applied what they learned in classroom activities, including a class picture book that includes a drawing and short story from each student.
“Our students came in September barely scribbling and many speaking few English words,” said Drogin. “A couple were nonverbal and are now beginning to speak. The details in pictures and handwriting [in the class picture book] show such progress. We are very proud of them.”
To succeed in building Field Trip New Jersey, we need your help. Our goal is to create an endowed, dedicated fund by the start of the 2016-2017 school year. We aim to build a pool of at least $2 million from like-minded funders who share a commitment to field trips for all students, no matter their circumstances. We would spend up to 5% of the endowment each year in support of program.
We hope that you are as excited about the potential of Field Trip New Jersey as we are. Working together, we know we can provide the logistical means for a larger number of New Jersey’s most disadvantaged young people to imagine brighter futures through broader exposure to arts and culture, science and nature, and higher education.