With all the things to get done before the school year, like organizing a lesson plan, setting up the classroom and buying new supplies, planning a school trip often gets pushed farther and farther down that list.
Though the thought of organizing a school trip is daunting, the importance of hands-on, experiential learning is well-known. Travel has been known to develop a child’s sense of independence, expose them to new cultures, and increase bonding with classmates. Use these tips to start planning your next school trip now.
1. Start Planning Early
Ideally, it is best to start planning your school trip 12 months in advance. With planning, organizing, fundraising, and getting logistics in place for students and parents, it is best to give yourself plenty of time.
Not only does this help you and the other teachers get all the details in place, but it also helps parents budget for the trip.
Here are some main points to plan in advance:
- Decide on a destination
- Get permission from your administrator or principal
- Arrange needs for chaperones, supervision and volunteers
2. Contact An Educational Tour Operator
You do not have to plan a school trip alone, instead, consult a company that specializes in educational tours. During a short conversation, your educational travel agent can offer you a range of ideas and possibilities you may have never considered before. They can also help plan every aspect of the trip and be your support throughout the process, from choosing destinations, planning transportation, and answering any questions or concerns.
3. Prepare Students & Parents For The Trip
Once you have planned out the basics of your trip and received administrative approval, the next step is to hold an informational meeting for parents. Have a sign-in sheet so that you can track who attends. Distribute permission or registration forms to parents at the meeting and reach out afterward to encourage sign-ups.
4. Tie The Trip Into Your Curriculum
Whether it is a band performance, Washington DC tour, or an international trip to Costa Rica, it is a good idea to have curriculum lessons beforehand that are directly related to the trip. Experience shows that students will gain more from a field trip if they are able to relate it to classroom lessons.
Students can do background research on the places you are visiting or take part in class activities that will tie in with the trip. If possible, find some videos to show students about the destinations and what they can expect to get out of the trip.
5. Make Sure Students (and Parents) Know The Rules
Prior to the trip, send out a list of rules to students and their parents. Students may even be required to sign this as a form of a contract prior to participating. Remind students to pack the appropriate clothing for the trip and to also not bring any expensive objects that could get stolen or lost.
Parents need to understand that the teachers and chaperones will not be with the kids every second of the trip. Parents also need to trust that their students will behave properly, and if they can’t trust their child or teen, they should not be allowed to participate.
6. Assign Volunteers and Chaperones
All school trips require dependable chaperones. Assign your groups and chaperones in advance, so there will be no confusion when you get to your destination. Ensure that your chaperones understand their role and understand this is not a vacation but an educational trip for the students.
7. Be Prepared
Something unexpected seems to always happen during the trip. A student forgets something important, you miss a bus, or a group doesn’t show up on time. Be flexible when on your school trip, as usually the students are having a great time just being in a new environment. One of the benefits of traveling with Educational Discovery Tours is relaxing while our leaders deal with the unexpected.
Remember that this will be a great experience for everyone involved, and that one little setback will not ruin the entire experience. If you would like to work with an educational travel company, contact one of our program directors and let’s start planning your school trip today!
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