The Magic After-School Bus was born in 2020 out of the idea that children deserve more than learning from a screen.
Nope. Scratch that.
It was born from the idea that children deserve more than learning from a desk.
In her pre-COVID teaching life, Mackenzie was not exactly what one would call a traditional kindergarten teacher... Her class could sometimes be found planting veggies in the kindergarten garden (which they could also sometimes be found weatherproofing, fixing-up, restocking with fresh compost from the class worm bin, and, semi-miraculously, nibbling fresh kale from), scavenging for treasures in the woods, testing the pH balance of their giant fish tank, or painting murals on walls semi-hidden behind the school (one of those situations where you ask more for forgiveness than permission...).
Of all these nontraditional methods, the walking field trips seemed to turn the most heads.
Every week, you could find her out on a "Fieldwork Friday" expedition, 24 eager five and six-year olds in tow, as they walked through town. Rain or shine. Research Journals in one hand, a field trip buddy's hand in the other - a giant smile in the middle.
Students dropped handwritten letters through the mail slot at the post office, toured the most-definitely-impenetrable vault at the local bank, made (and then happily and messily consumed) smoothies at the coffee shop, camped on the sidewalk to sketch the shapes of interesting buildings, checked-out research books from the library, and interviewed the Town Manager while occupying the seats of the Town Council. All the while practicing skills like safely crossing roads, making change at the grocery store, and using good manners and kind words when meeting others.
Most importantly though, these weekly excursions served as an opportunity for students to apply their learning in the real world - with real people, doing real things. Not only was the learning instantly meaningful, it became instantly memorable (not to mention just plain fun). It didn't take long for Mackenzie to realize an important truth about these little adventures...
The field trips didn't just enhance the learning, they were the learning.
Or at least the part of the learning that tended to stick. Years later, students would come back to share memories of favorite trips through the community, recalling details of the adventure along with lessons and specific information learned.
(Try getting that sort of educational return from a worksheet. Or a slideshow. Or a well-made, child-appropriate YouTube video. )
It was this realization - combined with the fortuitous discovery of a certain used bus for sale on Facebook Marketplace - that led to the idea for The Magic After School Bus as a way to bring ALL little learners out into the place where long-lasting learning tends to happen (and stick) the best...
**hint: it's not a Zoom meeting
After all, every learner deserves to discover the joy of education. And there is a lot out there to be joyful about.
Starting with a magical, decommissioned school bus turned adventure-mobile and ending with memories and learning that lasts a lifetime. It's sure been an adventure getting to this point - here's to many more adventures to come.
With ♡ and bus wheels.
-Mackenzie & Harold
Mackenzie was a teacher with a decade of experience and a passion for creative education projects . Harold was a decomissioned Thomas C2 school bus in need of a new home. In a classic case of bus meets girl, they found each other and The Magic-After-School Bus was born.
Here's the story...