Field Trips: Time for Fun and Learning – A Note From the Teacher
Field Trips: Time for Fun and Learning
Many schools use the excellent weather as the perfect time to bring students on field trips. Local attractions, zoos, learning centers, museums, and all kinds of different locations have great potential for being wonderful learning experiences. While these are some of the best times for students, they can be stressful for parents and teachers.
Here are a few things to remember about field trips to make them enjoyable for everyone!
Sometimes chaperones are not required.
Many parents love the opportunity to share the field trip experience with their child as a class chaperone. This can, indeed, be a great way to participate in your child’s education. However, there are some times when only a limited number of chaperones can come with a group or when no chaperones from outside of the classroom can be included.
If this happens, remember that the location being visited may have specific rules regarding how many adults can accompany the students; often teachers have no control over this. Try not to tell your child that you are definitely a chaperone before you’re officially notified, as this can help to alleviate some disappointment later. Instead, use the opportunity to teach your child about being independent and enjoying the experience with the class.
Unless your child has very unique needs that only you can care for, try not to hold your child out of this great experience if you’re not chosen as a chaperone.
Planning ahead is important.
If you know our child will be attending a field trip and your child has special needs that will be an issue on the trip (such as medication administration), make arrangements with the teacher in advance to plan for how to accommodate those needs. In many cases, professionals other than the teacher may need input, so it will take time to make sure all necessary arrangements are made. By starting early to make sure there is a plan in place you will help to eliminate issues on the day of the event that may be upsetting to your child.
Read the trip requirements on the permission form.
Most schools put important trip information on the permission form that goes home to parents. Read it carefully, as your child may need special clothing, a brown bag lunch, or other items that are important for the trip. If you need to send the form with the information back to the school, jot down notes about what is needed on the family calendar so you can remember when the day comes.
Don’t send your child if he or she is ill.
Children almost NEVER want to miss a field trip, since they are highlights of the school year. However, there are times that your child may become ill just in time for that special day. It is important that although your child may be disappointed, you should not send a sick child on a field trip.
In fact, it is especially important not to send your sick child to school on trip days, as they may be in a location far away from the school where it can be difficult for you to get to if your child needs to be picked up early. Also, remember there is often a bus ride involved with a field rip, and sending someone who is not feeling well on the bus can not only make them feel worse, but can spread the illness to others, too.
Communicate with school.
If you have concerns about supervision or the field trip activities, contact the school ahead of time and talk to the teacher about your questions. Allow them to explain what their plan is and why this trip is important to your child’s education experience before you make a decision about whether your child can attend.
Most facilities which provide field trip programs have a great deal of experience with lots of different school groups and can actually help the teachers plan appropriately for the safety and supervision of students while on their property. If you have questions, talk to the teacher and they may be able to help you better understand the trip plans.
Field trips are one of the school experiences that can give students wonderful opportunities to have new experiences.
Whether you attend as a parent chaperone or your child heads out with their classmates and teacher, it’s an important step for your child to learn to interact with others in a new environment. Field trips are a well-planned and supervised opportunity for your child to grow academically and socially, and they’re lots of fun, too! Enjoy them!
Thanks to everyone who reads our column regularly. We look forward to sharing new ideas and advice with you each month.
"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
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