Volunteering for a school or youth group field trip can be very exciting and maybe a little stressful for new chaperones. I know I always have a deep appreciation for my kids’ teachers after spending the day with them and their class on a field trip. Help chaperones make the day a smooth and fun one by using a few of these tips!
1. Let chaperones know if they need a background check. Some schools require volunteers to take part in a criminal record check in order to work with children in the school. Chaperones should know well in advance of the field trip if this is a school policy.
2. Provide chaperones with a schedule and a brief explanation of what students will be looking for and experiencing on the field trip. Provide any Big Idea questions students have to answer, or a copy of any activity sheets they’ll use during the trip.
3. Provide chaperones with a list of the names of the kids in their group. It is important that the chaperones quickly learn the names of each of the students in their group. You might suggest chaperones jot down what the students are wearing or take a photo of the student, if that is allowed, in case they need to look for or describe a child that has wandered off.
4. Let chaperones know if any students in their group have allergies or other medical concerns. Chaperones should know where to access EpiPens, inhalers or other necessary equipment.
5. Give chaperones a way to reach you or someone in the group quickly if something should happen. You might consider sharing your cell phone number.
6. Remind parents to be on their best behavior and be sure to model actions they would want to see in the students.
7. Suggest that chaperones have tissues or wipes handy and let them know where they can access a first-aid kit. There is inevitably someone who needs a band-aid on a field trip! Chaperones might also want to bring a big bag or backpack, especially with little ones. Just like with the band-aid, it is inevitable that one or all of the field trippers will ask you to hold something of theirs while they use the restroom or participate in an activity.
8. Encourage parents to have fun (and not stress too much). They should enjoy this time with their little one and his or her classmates. And who knows they may even learn something, too!