With a few simple steps and a little planning ahead your
preschool field trip can be a joy and not a pain. By following these simple tricks and tips you
can save yourself from needless stress.
I have taken my classes on dozens of field trips and have accompanied my
own children on dozens more. The tips
below were gleaned from my successes and failures on these outings. Everything I have learned can be boiled down
into 3 easy to remember steps: Planning, Preparation, and Performance.
It may seem basic but you need to have a written game
plan. By committing your plan to writing
you can easily review the steps to see if anything has been overlooked. You can also have another teacher review your
plans for extra peace of mind. At the
end of this article I have included a free printable form for you to get
For a successful trip I have found that you need around 3 to
4 weeks lead time to arrange everything and not feel rushed. Some parents will need at least two weeks’
notice to arrange for the time off work or to alter their personal
schedules. This will also give you
plenty of time to work out the details with the location you will visit.
You will, of course, call ahead to the facility you plan on
visiting. What you discuss in the phone
call can make the difference between success and failure. Don’t be shy about calling more than once if
you have questions or concerns. Even if
you have all the details in your first call you will want to make one more call
in the days just before the field trip to confirm that nothing has
changed. Some vital topics to discuss:
Costs for both children and parents and what is
included for that price (lunch, souvenir, etc.).
Parking arrangements. Know where you can park your bus/van/cars and
if there is a cost. Some facilities may
have on-street parking only or will make use of a local parking ramp. Be sure you know before you go.
Eating facilities. If you will be there for lunch make sure you
know when and where you can eat.
If there is inclement weather will plans change in any way?
Once all your plans have been made it’s time to start
preparing. The first thing you should
prepare for is safety. Make sure you
have at least one amply stocked first aid kit. Some things to include in your kit:
Baby wipes/moist towelettes
Info cards for each child. These cards should have a list of the child’s
emergency contacts, allergies, medications, etc.
Master list of names of the students and parents
on the trip as well as any cell numbers that may be needed.
It will go easier for you if you have other adults
(teachers, aides, parents) to accompany you.
Finding the right ratio will be crucial.
I have found a ratio of 1 adult to every 3 or 4 kids to be ideal. If you have any special needs or challenging children
you may need to lower the ratio on a case by case basis (even down to 1 on 1
for real stinkers J). Make sure during your preparations that the
parents know all the rules and expectations that you have for them and the
children. A written agenda will go a
long way in helping them to assist you better.
In the weeks leading up to the field trip be sure to begin
preparing the children for what to expect.
Read plenty of books relating to the excursion. Help them formulate questions to ask during
the trip. (This can help to prevent the random, awkward, off topic questions
that kids sometimes ask) Help guide their
expectations and build their anticipation by having plenty of open discussion
about the outing. They may think of
things you never considered or view the topic in an unexpected way. As you know kids see the world in wonderful,
During your preparations take time to compile resources for
each of the adults that will accompany you:
Maps of driving route
Maps of the facility (if available)
Rules and expectations
At least one week before the trip collect all the money
and/or permission slips and have a confirmed count of which parents will be
attending. Once you have this information send out a reminder to all those who will be attending. Know that some parents will
run late on the day of the trip so build some leeway into your start time. I suggest setting a deadline of at least one
half hour before departure to account for tardy chaperones.
As the adults arrive on the day of the trip hand them the
packet which you prepared for them. If
you will not be all together in one location during the field trip be sure to
designate a meeting location and specify the time that everyone is to be
there. Verbally detail all of the rules
and expectations of the trip and answer any questions and concerns that the
As you begin to assign groups of kids with parents try to
keep in mind your target ratios while maintaining a balance between the
parent’s abilities and the children’s temperaments. Make certain that every adult is comfortable
with his or her assignment and that they know the agreed upon protocol for
given situations that may arise (lost child, bathroom accident, illness, etc.).
Just prior to departure make sure all children have used the
bathroom so that when you get to your destination everyone will be ready to
go. As the children board the bus
perform your initial count and check it against your master list. Once you have resolved any discrepancies
between the count and your master list board the bus and verify the numbers a
second time. You will want to perform
the same double count method just prior to departing the facility.
Benjamin Franklin once said: “By failing to prepare, you are
preparing to fail.” By following these
time-tested methods you can rest assured that you’ve given yourself and your
pupils the best chance for a fun-filled adventure at your destination. With careful planning and preparation you can
minimize the chance that things will go awry.
In the event that an issue arises you will be prepared and not
Have a fun trip!
Click this link to download your FREE field trip checklist.