Modern curriculum's in many school systems around the world include educational excursions as an essential part of the learning process. Educators believe that excursions offer experiences to our students that are closer to real life than we can simulate in the class room.
This is the first in a series of three articles on the organisation of an excursion and concentrates on what planning the teacher must do before the day of the excursion.
Poor planning can create a very stressful day for the teachers and students reducing the possibility of good educational outcomes.
What follows is a step by step procedure to organise that first excursion. It is divided into two parts. The first is the preparation the teacher needs to do to get the excursion 'off the ground'. The second part deals with preparing the students to get the most out of the excursion. This is in the form of a student briefing.
1. Obtain permission from the appropriate authorities in your school before you begin any major planning.
2. Plan early and thoroughly, first working out costs, itinerary, transport arrangements, educational goals from your work program or syllabus.
3. Read and follow closely your school's excursion procedures and its time lines.
4. Submit your planning for official approval.
5. Inform parents by letter of all details and gain their permission for their child to participate.
6. Organise transport well in advance and check just prior to the excursion date that the transport booking is confirmed.
7. Brief all students about the excursions including their responsibilities regarding behaviour, dress, safety and any school requisites they need.
8. Organise the collection of money, its banking and the payment of accounts.
9. Create a list of all students going on the excursion and a list of those not going. Give the list of non-attendees to your school attendance officer or the relevant teachers.
10. Organise, well before the excursion day, any cheques you need to have with you to pay for services provided during the excursion.
11. Organise work sheets for the students and have spare copies available.
12. Complete the school check list for excursions.
Pre-Excursion Student Briefing
The purpose of the briefing is to prepare the students thoroughly so that they have an educationally successful day, conducted in a safe and secure way.
1. Inform the students about the behaviour that is expected of them, including the consequences of breaking that code.
2. Explain the purpose of the excursion.
3. Discuss the itinerary of the excursion.
4. Discuss permission forms, costs, departure and arrival times and so on.
5. Discuss what they need to bring, do or find for the excursion.
6. Discuss any work sheets to be done as well as any follow up assessment tasks.
7. Issue safety and security instructions with a clear explanation as to why these instructions are to be in place.
8. Discuss the dress code for the day, the need for sun screen, correct shoes, hats and discuss toileting and food arrangements.
9. Discuss the buddy system and select the buddies.
10. Discuss seat allocation, roll checks, gathering points and a lost procedure for students.
11. Teach your students all the new skills/knowledge that they require for the excursion.
Remember to keep a record of your pre-planning, the agenda for the student briefing and any paperwork you give the students as part of an excursion file that you create as a record of what you did in organising the excursion. It will become the basis of the planning for next time you do this excursion.