A school trip can be an exciting excursion for students, but teachers and parents need to ensure students' safety when they're off school premises. Create a safe trip for your students by going over school trip rules before you load the bus and depart for your destination. Talk with the field trip location in advance to see if the site has any safety tips for you to pass along to students. Parent chaperones can help ensure that kids follow the rules and enjoy their school trip safely.
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Turn in Permission Slips
Each student should turn in a signed permission slip before the field trip. Parents should be aware of the school trip, and their signature on the permission slip indicates they approve of their child taking the trip. If there are any special requirements, such as a dress code or packed lunch necessary for the field trip include them on the permission slip.
Stay With Your Chaperone
Teachers should ask for parent chaperones to accompany the class on the school trip. The Louisville Zoo recommends one chaperon for every 10 students, but teachers might choose to create smaller groups for younger students, such as one chaperon for every five students. (see Reference 1) Before you depart, assign students to their chaperon, and tell them that they must stay with their group and chaperon at all times.
Stay With the Group
Stress the importance of students staying with the class and not wandering off. Tell students to keep their eye on their chaperon and follow their classmates from one point to the next. Advise students that if they get lost, they should find an official or employee and tell them that they cannot find their group.
Count Students at Each Location
Every time you enter or exit the bus, do a headcount to make sure all students are accounted for. Do not leave a location until you know every student is on the bus. Ask chaperones to count their groups as well, which is a good way to double check your headcount. Teachers should bring a class roster in case they need to call out students' names if the headcount doesn't add up.
Find a Buddy
Use the buddy system for younger students. Let students pair up, and tell them that they are responsible for their buddy. This way, if a student wanders off---or even tries to---his buddy will alert the teacher or chaperon to his whereabouts.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
Explain that students should not touch anything unless a teacher tells them to do so. If the class visits a petting zoo, it will be a hands-on experience, but a trip to the local museum should follow a "look but don't touch" rule. The Educator's Reference Desk states that teachers should ensure students do not damage any items or equipment on the field trip. (see Reference 2)
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