Field trips can be an exciting, yet stressful, time! Even after 15 years, I have trouble sleeping the night before- it’s equal parts of nerves and excitement!
As a veteran teacher at my school, I am often asked- What do I need to know to make my field trip go well?
I have compiled my top 5 tips to help you prepare for a smooth field trip before you ever leave the school!
1. Pack a bag of essentials!
If you’re already a parent, this step might be pretty easy for you! If not, think about things you might need. Parents phone numbers, first aid supplies, medications? I suggest using a backpack so you can keep your hands free. In my bag, I pack the following items:
→ Parent communication notebook– It holds all the numbers I need. I have never used it for behavior, but had to call a parent because a student was having an asthma attack. He didn’t have an inhaler, they did breathing treatments at home. She was able to meet us with his nebulizer and take care of him.
→First Aid Supplies– I fill a large, zip top plastic bag with band-aids, gloves, tissues, a thermometer, plastic grocery store bags, and any medications I have to give. I have dealt with everything from bloody noses to nausea during field trips and having the right supplies make it a lot easier!
→Special treats– for me and the chaperones! I’m not a huge soda drinker but it always feels nice to have one on a field trip. If I know my chaperones preferences, I always bring something they like too. I also pack my lunch and a little chocolate.
2. Preview the site if you’ve never been.
Nothing is worst than leading kids aimlessly around while you figure out what is going on. If you can’t go to the actual site, spend some time previewing the website and know your agenda. Do you have to be anywhere at a certain time? What time are you leaving? Are there any must see exhibits or activities? Knowing your plan is essential to having a good time!
3. Take the BEST chaperones.
In the past, I have sent out a class wide “Let me know if you can chaperone!” call. Now, I hand select the best by giving them a call and saying “I really need your help on the field trip on such and such date. Can you come?” I have never had a parent say no!
This also helps avoid the no show chaperone which is something that happens often in my district. Personally inviting chaperones sends a great message and you are more likely to get a good return.
❗Even with a personal invitation, remember to check in with them a few days before and the night before to make sure they are still coming!
4. Rules, Rules, Rules!
I have found that even the most unruly of student’s is behaved on a field trip but it’s extremely important to review the rules before you leave. Review the rules for the bus, general rules and any specific rules for your trip. This is why it is helpful to preview the site. If you’re heading to the zoo, talk about being kind to the animals- not tapping on the glass, not reaching into the enclosures, etc. For a museum, talk about respecting the exhibits, what is touchable and how to share the space with others.
5. Count your kids and count again!
Know exactly how many students you are taking with you and count them often. I count when we line up, as we walk out the door and again on the bus. I also ask one of my chaperones to count and make sure we have the same number. It is also important to count frequently during the field trip. This ensures that you don’t leave anyone behind!
What are your best tips for preparing for a field trip? I would love to hear them in the comments!