Teachers rely on parents to help chaperon field trips. But it’s not just a fun trip to the museum or zoo. Chaperoning is a real commitment. You’ll be responsible for keeping the kids safe while they are away from school. Be prepared for the chaperon gig with this preparation tips.
Get the Full Story
You likely already know where the class is going, but get all of the details before you go on the field trip. You need to know the basics, such as when you’re leaving, when you’ll return and whether or not you will ride on the school bus. In some cases, you might need to provide your own transportation. You also need to know whether or not you need to pay for your own admission.
Check with the teacher to find out what is expected of you. Find out if the class will stay together or break up into smaller groups. Determine what your role will be. When I went with my son’s class to the zoo, I was assigned a group of five kids. We went through the zoo as a small group instead of staying with the whole class. On other field trips, you might be more crowd control for the larger group.
The field trip destination helps you decide what to wear. You need appropriate clothes and footwear so you can keep up with the kids. Wearing heels on a field trip to the zoo is a recipe of disaster — and blisters. When you are comfortable and appropriately dressed, you are less distracted so you can focus on the kids.
The teachers should have first aid kits and other essentials, but it never hurts for you to be prepared. This is especially helpful if the class will break up into small groups. If one of your kids gets hurt, you might not be near the teacher who has the first aid kit. Pack at least a few bandages to have on hand. A few snacks and some cash can come in handy too.
Commit to the Day
The teacher needs to have a certain adult-to-child ratio on the field trip. If you sign up as a chaperon, you need to commit to the responsibility. If you decide halfway through the field trip that you didn’t wear the right shoes and you leave, you throw off the adult-to-child ratio. That leaves the remaining chaperons or teachers to pick up the slack, potentially affecting the safety of the kids.
You aren’t the teacher or the parent for all of the kids, but as a chaperon it is your responsibility to keep the kids safe. Establish your role with the kids from the beginning. Let them know what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you have kids who start running off or getting ahead, let them know right away that they cannot do that. Pay attention to the rules the teacher or field trip guide establishes with the kids so you can enforce them consistently.
Your job as a chaperon is a serious one, but don’t forget to have fun with the kids. As long as you’re keeping track of your charges, it’s okay to get involved in the field trip activities. When you have fun, the kids will enjoy the field trip more.