Prepping for Field Trips 101

Whether your kids love their school and their teachers or they’re struggling to adapt to the structure of the classroom setting, there’s one thing all school-age children can agree on: field trips are amazing. Every kid loves skipping a day of classroom activities to hop on a bus with classmates and head off to parts unknown. It doesn’t matter if they’re visiting a memorial, a museum, a nature preserve, or a historical site. They’re sure to be amped about their upcoming excursion.

As a parent, it’s definitely heartwarming to see your child so excited and engaged in the learning process. Studies have shown that the immersion of hands-on learning can boost information retention by a staggering 85%. On the other hand, the experience can easily go awry without proper preparation. What can you do to make sure your kids have the time of their lives every time they attend a field trip? Here are a few steps that are sure to make the process smooth sailing.


Fill Out Forms

When teachers take children off school grounds for the day, they are liable for ensuring that parents are made aware of the outing and that they understand the parameters of the planned outing, which means you should receive paperwork well in advance of the field trip. It then becomes your responsibility to fill out necessary forms and return them in a timely manner.

When kids come home with forms, make sure to read them all the way through so you know exactly what you’re agreeing to when you sign. Don’t forget to check dates. Often, arrangements for transportation, meals, tickets for entry, and other considerations have to be made in advance and the school needs an accurate headcount well before the date of the field trip. Kids that come in the day of with a permission slip may be too late.


Read Instructions

In addition to sending home forms like permission slips, your child’s teacher will probably include a list of instructions, some for parents to attend to and others for kids to learn. For example, you may need to pack a lunch or provide money for food or other expenses. There may also be instructions for how to dress your child for the day.

It’s likely that the teacher will include rules for the field trip. Many schools and/or teachers have policies in place related to bringing items like toys or electronics on field trips. Often, these items are not allowed, not only because they are distracting, but because they could be lost. Read and understand all instructions and make your children aware, if necessary.


Choose Proper Clothing

Teachers may or may not offer information about proper dress for a field trip, but if you know where your kids are going, you should be able to select suitable attire. Comfortable shoes are a must for any field trip situation, but you may also want to provide extra items like sweaters or hats for outdoor excursions, just for example.


Pack Necessities

In many cases, children are asked to leave backpacks, lunch boxes, and other carry items behind on field trip days as there is always a risk of such items being set down and left behind. If your child needs to bring necessities like a sack lunch, sunblock, a sweater, and so on, the teacher should inform you of such requirements.


Discuss Proper Etiquette

Kids can get very excited about an upcoming field trip, and you don’t want to dampen their curiosity and zeal, but you also don’t want them getting in trouble during their day of fun and learning. For this reason, you need to sit kids down and talk about how to behave while on a field trip.

You need to make sure they agree to follow instructions, stay with the group, and listen to teachers and chaperones. They must treat any speakers or guides with proper respect. They shouldn’t roughhouse with other kids on the bus or at the field trip site, and they need to be careful about touching items unless they’re expressly told they’re allowed to. With proper preparation, your kids are sure to have the best possible field trip experience.