Successful field trips
Whenever you organize a field trip or an educational outing, plenty of fun is in store. Organization is key to making this day one that will be remembered fondly. Field trips can be both interesting and enriching providing you have carefully planned everything beforehand. Naturally, it is impossible to foresee unexpected events but it is much easier to face them when you are prepared.
- Ask parents for field trip suggestions. You can ask them to complete a survey at the beginning of the year for example. This is a great way to get parents involved in daycare life. It also avoids disappointing reactions when you present your field trip choice to parents.
- Create a field trip policy and ask parents for their thoughts when you are preparing it. Put rules and instructions in writing. This policy can be given to all parents ahead of time and remain the same for each trip. You could, for example, mention the number of parents you need to help you supervise the group, the action plan in case of rain, what children need to bring, parents' responsibility as well as yours, etc. Have parents review the policy before printing the final copy. Ask them for comments and suggestions.
- When a parent joins the group for a field trip, have him sign an agreement. This small contract should explain their commitment for the duration of the trip. You could specify that the parent must be responsible for two children, ensure their security, etc.
- A week or two before a field trip, have parents sign an authorization sheet. This sheet must indicate the date, time, and location of the field trip as well as a list of the names of the children who are going to participate. Parents sign next to their child's name to indicate they accept that their child participates. On the day of the field trip, verify that all parents have given their consent.
- Prepare a checklist for the day of the field trip. Check off all the items you need to bring before departing.
- If your daycare does not have daycare shirts, use white adhesive tags. Using a dark marker, write your name and phone number on each tag. Attach a tag to children's coat or sweater. It is also possible to purchase small undetachable bracelets like the ones used in amusement parks. Inscribe your contact information on each bracelet.
- Take along small easy to carry games like a parachute, a song book, storybooks, paper and crayons, a small ball, etc. These games may come in handy during free play, transition, or waiting periods.
- While on field trips, we sometimes experience brief waiting periods which are not long enough to organize an actual game but long enough to make children impatient. Have a list of transition activities on hand. You can have a small address book in which you list activities alphabetically.
- Bring a camera to capture the memorable moments which occur on field trips. Parents who were unable to join the group enjoy seeing pictures. It allows them to better discuss the field trip with their children. You can mount the pictures with the group.
- Keep in mind that when you return to the daycare, children will be tired and less cooperative. To guarantee a pleasant return, prepare the daycare ahead of time. Depending on the time you are scheduled to return, have naptime mats and blankets ready or make sure the snack or lunch is waiting for you.
- Confirm your field trip a few days prior to the actual day. Make sure your reservation is valid, that the time is correct, and that the personnel are ready to receive you. Verify the items which are provided and what you need to bring. Confirm the number of children and adults who will be present.
Above all, remain calm, smile, and have fun!