Field trips are often one of the most memorable parts of a school year for students of all ages. Whether it’s a day or overnight trip, field trips provide children with new experiences that can shape their interests and memories as they grow into adulthood.
Whether they’re in elementary or high school, preparing your kids for overnight school trips involves addressing both practical and emotional aspects to ensure their safety, comfort, and enjoyment.
Here are some tips to help you prepare as effectively as possible:
If your child is older and you’re not packing for them, provide them with a detailed packing list to ensure they bring appropriate clothing, toiletries, and any special items they may need. Make sure you include essentials like a sleeping bag, pillow, and flashlight for outdoor trips. Many schools will provide a suggested list of items to pack for specific trips to most effectively prepare students for the trip ahead.
Label all of your child's belongings with their name to avoid confusion around other students. If you have a younger kid or a younger kid at heart, allow your child to bring a comfort item from home, like a stuffed animal or a favorite blanket.
Most schools have a process in place to collect medication and health information prior to a field trip, so make sure you communicate any health concerns or allergies to the chaperones as requested and ensure they have necessary medications. Provide emergency contact information, including your own and any alternative contacts. It can also be beneficial to briefly go over what to do in case of emergencies with your child, as long as you feel confident that it won’t cause additional anxiety.
Before it’s time to leave, go over the rules and expectations of the trip with your child. Emphasize the importance of following instructions from teachers and other adults in charge to maintain a fun and safe environment. It can also be helpful to go through the itinerary together, so your child knows what to expect each day. Although you’re going over rules and expectations, make sure you emphasize the fun and exciting aspects of the trip to create a positive mindset.
#4: Encourage them to practice independence
Even if your child is in the later years of elementary school, encourage them to pack their own bag to foster a sense of responsibility. Practice basic skills, such as opening and closing their bag, to ensure they can manage on their own while on the trip and discuss other problem-solving strategies.
Build their confidence by reinforcing their ability to handle new situations. Make sure you remind your child that while independence is valuable, it’s also important to know when to seek help if needed.
Talk to your child about the upcoming trip, addressing any concerns or fears they may have. Encourage them to express their feelings and listen empathetically. By maintaining open communications, you can help them work through their anxieties and allow them to feel a sense of excitement about the trip rather than trepidation.
It’s also important to encourage your child to socialize with their classmates during the trip to foster a sense of camaraderie and community for a more successful trip.
Remember to encourage excitement about the trip and maintain open communication about any concerns your child may have before their field trip. By preparing them practically and emotionally, you'll help ensure they have a safe and enjoyable experience during their overnight school trip.
At Windermere Preparatory School, we offer day and overnight field trips around Central Florida, the U.S., and the world to our elementary, middle, and high school students that broaden their world view, enrich the lessons they learn in their classrooms, and provide opportunities to connect in meaningful ways with their classmates.
In years past, our Lower School students have been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Kennedy Space Center, and St. Augustine. Our Middle Schoolers go on eye-opening “Laker Adventures” each year which culminates in the 8th Grade’s “Go West” Trip—a weeklong tour of the Grand Canyon that allows our students to experience the flavor, people, and history of the Great American West.
Our High School Lakers have many academically-enriching field trip opportunities, but one of our most unique trips is to Tanzania. The Tanzania Seeway Expedition is open to all Nord Anglia high school students aged 13 up and consists of eight days traveling around the Arusha region of Tanzania.