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School Trips

School trips provide an excellent opportunity to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of different aspects of the curriculum.It allows the children to develop a deeper understanding of a subject by relating what they have learnt in the classroom to the real world.

The trip can help the class grasp some of the difficult concepts that they have been discussing by seeing some working examples.

It is important that you fully prepare for any school trip to maximise the learning opportunities which can then be built upon back in school. You also need to ensure that you fully risk assess the locations that you will be visiting to make sure that the children are working in a safe environment free from any hazards.

Trip Preparation
It is vital that you prepare for any school trip to maximise the learning opportunities for the children. You should identify locations that will support different aspects of the curriculum. For example, you could visit a local history exhibition so that the children can experience life from a specific time period in the past or you could visit a local environment unfamiliar to the children so that they can investigate the habitat. Make sure that you visit the selected location for the school trip so that you can identify learning opportunities and make a risk assessment of any site. Start planning the trip by building a timetable of the visit indicating timings of activities, opportunities to support learning objectives and general organisational issues such as places for coaches to drop off the children, the location of toilets and somewhere suitable for lunch. You also should have a plan in place in case of inclement weather. It would also be useful to create a map of the visit showing the route taken by the children to avoid any unnecessary mishaps or time wasting.

Classroom Work
You will need to make sure that the children are adequately prepared so that you can maximise the learning opportunities of any school trip. Spend time in lessons before the trip introducing the class to some of the concepts and skills that they will need to use on the trip. For example, if you are visiting a living history museum then the children could use primary and secondary sources to identify questions to ask during the trip about different aspects of a particular time period or if the children are visiting a special habitat they could spend time testing ways of identifying and classifying animals and plans found in one location. You should select a learning objective for any school trip and make sure that the children are aware of the the resulting outcome of the visit. For example, if you are visiting a local farm that children could be focused on comparing the farm to other locations as the curriculum learning outcome.

Trip Organisation
Use a checklist to make sure that you have planned and prepared for any eventualities that might happen during the trip. Spend time before the visit talking to the class about the arrangements for the trip so that everyone is clear of what will happen on the visit and your expectations of the children’s behaviour and responsibilities. You can prepare any adults by providing them with the timetable and map that you have prepared showing the timings and route of the visit. Make sure that you collect any necessary resources required for the visit such as a first aid kit and any medications required by children in the class. It is important that all adults are briefed about some of the dangers and hazards that the children might face during any visit so that they are aware of the correct action to take if something should happen to go wrong.

During the Visit
With good preparation any school trip should go without a hitch so that the children can concentrate on their learning. Be careful about providing the children with a set of worksheets to complete during the visit where they need to record every single aspect of their visit. These worksheets can be time consuming and might dampen the children’s enthusiasm for learning. During the preparation for the trip, you can identify opportunities where the children could record an aspect of their visit such as sketching an historical artefact or producing a tally of plants and animals found in a specific habitat. The children will then be able to use the results of these activities as follow-up learning back in the classroom. You can also provide any adults who are supporting groups on the trip a list of questions to direct discussions during the visit to focus the children on specific aspects of the curriculum and learning objectives.

Class Follow-up
After the trip, you can plan some classroom activities to help the children demonstrate their understanding of what they have learnt during any visit. This should not simply be getting the children to write a recount of their day out but should allow the class to illustrate their deeper understanding of a particular learning objective. For example, if you have visited a living history museum then the children can produce artefacts and materials to build their own example exhibition for other classes in the school to visit and experience. Similarly, if the children have investigated a particular habitat they can spend time comparing the plants and animals identified during the visit with living things found in the school environment.

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