Field trips provide an excellent hands-on, real world learning experiences. One of the primary goals for a teacher organizing a field trip, should be safety and security of students. Be prepared for emergencies and issues on field trips by planning ahead.
-Any chaperons and parents who not school employees must have background checks before interacting with children or providing transportation. Parent driver must have available a car that meets basic safety standards. At least two of the field trip chaperons should be school employees. This is a safety precaution for teachers against liability issues.
-Familiarize yourself with field trip facilities prior to arriving. Make sure you know where restrooms, health facilities, first aid station and information kiosks are located. If the area is large, provide maps for students or group leaders.
-Carry a backpack or bag with all student medications, emergency first aid supplies, asthma inhaler, Epi-pen, student health forms and emergency phone contact information.
-Maintain a check-off list using a clipboard. Check students off as they enter the bus and exit the field trip site.
-Research possible traffic delays and weather conditions prior to field trips. Inform your school and parents of possible delays due to construction, weather or travel conditions. I’ve sat with three irritable kids for nearly two hours waiting to pick another child up from a field trip. Add parent cell phone numbers and send text message alerts if problems arise. Communicate with the school, too.
-Bring at least two cell pones and/or walkie talkies to communicate with other adults during field trip. Most parents carry cell phones and are generally more than willing to use them as chaperons.
-Do not encourage young children to bring money on field trips. I personally don’t encourage students of any age to bring money. Carrying money on their person just puts them at risk for theft and harm. It makes other students who may be given less spending money feel left out to watch classmates splash money around.
-If you allow students to bring cash, cell phones, Ipods, Mp3 players or other valuables, remind students and parents that the school is not responsible for theft, loss or damage to the item.
-If you allow students to bring cell phones, Ipods, Mp3 players or other valuables, remind students and parents that the school is not responsible for theft, loss or damage to the item.
-Students wear some form of identification that distinguishes them from other student or private groups. A simple name tag may not be safe for students visiting large venues where they will come in contact with other adults. Provide a school tee-shirt for each student and chaperon. You can also ask each student and adult in your group to wear a certain color shirt, also. Some organization carry a banner or standard that helps students identify where the group is gathering.
-For outdoor field trips or field trips in large areas, organize students into smaller groups headed by one or two adults. Communicate with those adults via cell phone.
-Perform frequent head counts.
-Do not allow students to interact with strangers in or around the field trip location.
-Before leaving, review the rules for students. Remind them that the bus driver, chaperons and field trips coordinators deserve their attention and respect. Remind students that everyone must cooperate in order for everyone to enjoy themselves and be safe. Tell students that you will tolerate no disruptive or unsafe behavior. Stand by that. The majority of students just want to enjoy the field trip and will behave well. These students need to be assured that you value their safety and field trip enjoyment.
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