Field trip represent the future patrons of informal learning institutions, and early, positive experiences may help facilitate lifelong interest (Marshdoyle, E., Bowman, M.L., and Mullins, G.W. ,1982) The primary role of field trips in the learning experience is to facilitate a direct experience with concrete phenomena and material (Orion, 1993)
Michie (1998) identified seven barriers to successful field trips: 1) transportation; 2) teacher training and experience; 3) time issues such as school schedule and teacher’s ability to prepare; 4) lack of school administrator support for field trips; 5) curriculum inflexibility; 6) poor student behavior and attitudes; and 7) lack of venue options. There barriers can be minimized with a proper and carefully planned trip.
Upon arrival at a field trip venue, students are often disoriented resulting in excited, explorative, and unrestrained behavior (Falk, J. H., Martin, W. W., & Balling, J. D.,1978) and this may put a strain in the safety of the children. Therefore, teachers should be prepared to focus the students’ mental and physical energy towards participation at the venue (Lei, 2010). It is the teachers’ responsibility to plan the field trip that will ensure maximum learning experience yet safe for the children.
Apart from determining the learning goals of the trip, the health, safety and nutrition aspects of the children should be taken into serious consideration during the planning of the field trip. Below will be the planning for the field trip to Kidzania Singapore for the age group of 5 to 6 years old.
Adult to Child Ratio
The group size of this trip will be 20 children. It is recommended to have at least four teachers to be following for this trip. In Kidzania, children will be participating different working activities and the group size of each activities is about 5 children per session therefore the children will have to break into 4 different groups. Each group will need to have one teacher supervising them.
Teachers should visit the venue prior to the field trip to learn the layout of the venue. Teachers are recommended to take photos of the venue and to share these photos to the children. Since Kidzania is an indoor, the teachers can put their mind at ease about the weather for the day itself. Kidzania is a children friendly place therefore they have children restrooms and the layout of the place are safe for young children. Teachers can discuss with the in-charge of the Kidzania’s admin regarding how the activities work and be aware of what to expect on the field trip day. Teachers can also find out the emergency plans in case of fire and also the protocols in any case of injuries so that they can brief the children and be prepared themselves.
Meals and Transportation
Kidzania does not have a canteen that provides food for the visitors therefore teachers have to order food catering for the children’s lunch meal. Teachers and the children should have the lunch time at around 12pm hence, the teachers have to make sure that the food will arrived at Kidzania by 11.30pm. Kidzania provides an indoor place for the children and teachers to sit and have their meals. During the trip, teachers are advised to bring some snacks for the children in case they get hungry.
Teachers should have the bus arrived in school by 8.45am even though Kidzania is open at 10am. This is to minimize being late and getting lesser activity time for the children. The drop off point at Kidzania will be right outside of the main entrance. In case of rain, there will be a shelter for the children to walk under from the drop off point to the main entrance. The bus should be ready at the same drop off point at around 5pm. Teachers should keep the number of the bus driver in case of any last-minute changes.
Preparing the Teachers for the trip
Teachers are advised to bring at least $100 cash with them. There are a few eating place inside Kidzania available for the visitors to buy from such as KFC and the Soup Spoon. In Kidzania, teachers are not allowed to enter the activity room with children and they will have to wait outside for at least half an hour till the children is done with the activity. Therefore, teachers will have a lot of free time and during this free time, they might want to bring a book with them to kill time while waiting. Even so, teachers are still responsible for the children so they will have to check on them every once in a while. Even though the majority of the activities are the responsibility of the venue’s exhibits or staff members, the teacher is ultimately responsible for all that happens, so the teacher needs to maintain control of the students (Kisiel, 2006b).
Since there are four teachers coming for this field trip, all four of them have to carry the emergency contact numbers for all children. Students will be best-prepared for the field trip when their teachers are informed and prepared (Davidson, S.K., Passmore, C., and Anderson, D. ,2010; Gutiérrez de White and Jacobson, 1993)
Preparing the Children for the trip
Teachers should give out the consent form to the parents at least one month before the trip. Consent form should also state the important things for the child to bring during the trip such water bottle, jacket, small hand sanitizer, a small bag and $10 cash for each child. Teachers should also prepare the children by showing photos of the venue and its layout. Children should be briefed on what they can do and cannot do at the venue. Rules are to be set and clearly explained to the children. Two variables that prepare the children for field trips are understanding the venue layout and the focus of the activities (Orion, N., & Hofstein, A. ,1994).
During the trip
Teachers can prepare worksheets for the children to fill up during the activities or after they are done with each activity. This is to ensure the children pay attention during the activities and note down what they have learned. It also helps to set a focus for the children. They will know what to look for during the activity based on the questions given in the worksheet. Teachers and children can also refer to this worksheet after the field trip and discuss the learning experience of the trip.
Children with medical conditions are advised to have a parent or care-giver accompanied during the trip. Teachers should also inform the staff in Kidzania regarding the children that has a medical condition as this is to prepare them for any case of emergency and to sort out a plan if there’s any incident that may occurs. Teachers and staff should work together in order to endure this trip is safe for all chidren.
Field trips that are more organized have been shown to result in greater content retention for students (Hurd, 1997). The structure of the field trip impacts learning. Some structure is needed to best support student learning, (Stronck, 1983). A successful and quality field trip requires teacher preparation and knowledge. Some factors such as the venue layout and the protocols of the place should be addressed before the trip. The experience needs to be planned. The teacher should previsit the venue to meet the staff and arrange the activities, and then prepare the students by orienting them to the venue’s layout, activities, and expectations. Student groupings should be set up prior to arrival at the venue. All aspects of the trip’s
success are directly or indirectly dependent on the teacher (Millan, 1995).