Top Ten Tips for planning a FIELD TRIP
We asked our amazing Chapperone teachers what their best tips were for planning a field trip and this is what we came up with. Hope you find it useful:
Google maps is a great resource for planning out how you travel from point A to point B. But… when it comes to estimating how long it will take to herd a bunch of students you have to add at least another 10-15 mins to the estimated walking time. For example, a 10 minute walk on google maps is probably more like a 20 minute walk.
When choosing what activities or venues you might want to visit, Explorable Places is a great platform where you can book experiences for your students all online. All programs/activities are vetted by teachers so they know what they’re talking about!
When planning your itinerary, make sure you have a rain plan. Bagged lunches in the nearby park sounds just lovely but when it’s torrential rain and you don’t know where to go, it’s not ideal. Have a look for some covered areas or even a food court which might give you a large enough area to shelter out the rain.
I know we mentioned it earlier, but Google Maps is really your best friend. If you’re not familiar with the area that you’re visiting, spend some time having a recce on the street view option of Google Maps. This way you’ll be able to recognize where you’re supposed to be going when you do have a gaggle of children behind you.
Start planning early. Once we’ve built our pre-trip planning features, things will be much easier, but until then, planning a field trip takes a lot of time. Make sure you follow the guidelines of your school in terms of running it by the right people and doing the necessary paperwork.
When it comes to permission forms, try sending them home 2 weeks before the trip and ask for them to be returned 3 days later. Any earlier to give them out, the trip is too far in the future for students to feel there is a pressing need to get the forms signed. Too much later and you won’t have enough time for multiple reminders and chasing. It’s important to give the students enough time to get the forms signed as different parents have different work hours so they might not always be home in the evening to sign forms. But again, if you give them too long, it gets forgotten.
And speaking of permission forms… If you have to send home paper permission forms, then print them out on a different colored paper. This means when the student sees all the papers in their book bag that they have shoved in, your permission form will stand out and they are more likely to remember to give them to their parents.
Go through the students’ medical needs. If you have any students with allergies, you should remind them to carry their own and to keep it with them at all times. It’s no good having an epipen and leaving it on the bus when you head to the museum. And if possible, you should also travel with an epipen and know how to use it. Another useful thing to have with you is a small first aid kit - remember you can’t give medication out unless you’re a nurse or you have explicit permission from parents. But you can administer basic first aid, such as band-aids and wipes.
If you’re travelling by bus or coach, then make sure you have the drivers’ phone number as any problems throughout the trip, it’s essential you can contact them. It’s useful to get this before the trip as if there is a problem first thing in the morning, you already have their number.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, make sure you have an easy dinner at home and if you indulge in wine, cake, chocolate, make sure you’re stocked up in advance! Once you get home, whether its an overnight trip or just a day trip, you’re going to be exhausted, and you’ll thank us later if you get home to an easy dinner (delivery is even better!) and a treat, because you will have earned it!
Any other hints or tips, leave them in the comments below! Good luck with all your trip planning and even more luck on your actual trip. Remember you’re doing an amazing thing - the benefits of experiential learning are huge and your students are going to have a blast while learning a huge amount. And don’t forget to download our app Chapperone too!