Wednesday, 14 October, 2020 - 14:15
Top tips for organising great school camps and school excursions

School trips have the power to engage, encourage, empower and enlighten students.

For teachers, they also offer a refreshing break away from the classroom and a chance to share new and exciting experiences with their students.

But successful school excursions, school camps and school incursions don’t happen on their own. They take time, planning and imagination.

So how do you make your next school trip one for the ‘good memory bank’?

Our top tips for the best trips include:

Give your trip context

While school excursions, camps and incursions can be a whole lot of fun, they also have a serious side. Every trip you take is also a learning opportunity for your students – and it’s important you take advantage of that. In the weeks leading up to your excursion, give it context in the classroom. Integrate key learning objectives into your lessons and discussions, and set goals and objectives your students should be aiming for on the trip.

Prepare students

School trips can be super exciting for students, and managing their behaviour (and decibel levels) can be a challenge!  To help prepare students, educate them about where they are going, what they can expect – and importantly, what you expect from them. For younger students, using visual prompts such as websites and videos – along with a chat - can help. For example: ‘When we get to the zoo, you’ll probably feel excited and want to see the animals up close. But it’s important you stay with the group, and keep your hands to yourself.’

Check, check…and check again

There’s nothing more stressful for teachers and adult supervisors than finding you’ve left behind important contact numbers, permission slips or transport details. Create a checklist – with absolutely everything you can think of – and check every item off the night before…..and again before you hop on the bus or train.

Put students in the driver’s seat

Give your students greater ownership of their school excursion, camp or incursion and chances are it will flourish. Students can help ‘drive’ the excursion with active leadership roles and helping you plan the itinerary and the activities it contains. It’s also wise to allow students to showcase their individual strengths. Quieter students can really come into their own on a well-planned trip that piques their imagination and interest.

Keep it movin’

Bored students become restless, and restless students tend to start pushing the boundaries. Keep students busy and occupied by dividing them into small, manageable groups and then focus on moving the groups through your trip’s activities at a steady, engaging pace. The busier they are, the better engaged they will be.

Travel with purpose

If your school excursion involves a long trip on the bus or train, think about some activities that students can undertake on the trip. It may be filling out an activity sheet, writing in a journal or reading some background material about their upcoming trip.

Value add your learning experience

If your trip has been successful, don’t let the advantages stop there - bring them back into your classroom! Energised students are more open to learning, so incorporate what you’ve gained from the trip into your classroom learning experience.

In case of emergency

Accidents and mishaps are part and parcel of school trips. Ease the worry by carrying a list of emergency contacts and medical information with you.

Stop and smell the roses

While you want your students to learn as much as they can during their school excursion, camp or incursion, don’t make them so hectic that everyone returns to school grumpy and exhausted. Take time to smell the roses (and soak up those fabulous ‘teacher moments’) during your trip.

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