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Inner-city children take trip to farm
Lisa Capone - The Sunday Boston Globe

Twenty-three Salem preschoolers treated to a tractor "sleigh" ride and visits with various farm animals just before Christmas were the latest beneficiaries of Education Outbound, a Hamilton organization that provides educational field trips for underprivileged children.

"Particularly now, with the budget cuts, this is very helpful in giving the children a field trip we shouldn’t be able to afford," said Salem Community Child Care Center Director Christin Hatch. "We are in an inner city here and they don't get to see a farm or animals."

After earning a master's degree in education, Megan Connolly taught school briefly before founding Education Outbound last year as a way to provide students in poorer communities with hands-on learning experiences.

"The primary mission of education Outbound is to expose underprivileged children to things they otherwise wouldn't see. That's it in a nutshell," she said.

The Salem Community Child Care Center trip took place at Devon Glen Farm in Hamilton. The farm, which donated use of its facilities, was also the site of a Dec. 22 holiday event for approximately 100 foster care, homeless, and other disadvantaged children.

Connolly said Education Outbound's programs are tied to state curriculum standards, and designed to compensate for budget cuts that have reduced schools' abilities to take off-site trips. In November, five third-grade classes from the Garfield Community Magnet School in Revere went to Plimoth Plantation, courtesy of Connolly's organization.

"It's a learning experience that you can't get in the classroom sometimes because you are using your five senses and it's really hands-on-learning," she said.

© 2003 Education Outbound