I have been a teacher for 25 years in general and special education, homeschool and adult education. I have organized around 60 field trips. This article is part of a series on coordinating a field trips: transportation, funding, handling money and dining.
-Choose field trip activities that are affordable. Be mindful of the student whose parents can’t afford the field trip. Make arrangements to help everyone participate. Ask for special rate days, coupons, group discounts and opportunities for schools and students to defray the cost of the field trip. The field trip website may offer special promotions and email offers. Apply for grant money, scholarships and benevolent trust money.
-Submit all paperwork as soon as possible. Field trips may require a transportation request form, substitute teacher request, parent permission slips, expense sheet, voucher request, etc.
-Even if parents have filled out a school permission form earlier in the year, request a parent response form for each field trip. This keeps everyone on the same page. Keep your classroom website updated about upcoming events.
-Consider taking an authorized school vehicle in lieu of parent volunteer drivers. If students are transported in a vehicle other than a school authorized vehicle, parents should be made aware of this. All vehicles used to transport students to school functions must pass basic safety standards.
-Most schools request parent volunteers on field trips. However anyone interacting with children in school must undergo a proper background check.
-For health and ease of field trip organization, take students to a restaurant or food vendor for meals. As a field trip coordinator, the last thing you need to be concerned with is keeping track of lunches. Some food spoils easily. You may not be able to find a suitable place to eat. Eating on the bus is usually not allowed.
-Hold on to money for younger children. Attend to ordering, paying and food distribution. Older students may order independently. If the field trip venue has a cafeteria or boxed lunch option, consider this.
-Collect all fees and monies well in advance of your group field trip.
-If tickets are required the field trip organizer should hold and present tickets upon admission.
-Send payment fees ahead of time to expedite check-in, registration and field trips event scheduling.
-Children should be discouraged from bringing money on field trips. This makes them vulnerable to theft and harm. Even older students should not carry more than $5-$10 on their person.
-Remind students before leaving to respect and obey their bus driver or chaperon as they would a teacher.
-Allow no disruptive behavior from students, especially not while in a vehicle. The driver has a difficult enough job and should not have to worry about unruly student behavior. If the student’s behavior is a danger to others, ask the driver to stop so that you can take the student out and call home.
-Children should be expected to tidy up any messes that they have made on the bus.
-Remind students that they should not bring any valuables and if anything personal items are stolen, lost or damaged, the school is not liable for them.
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