Whether it is a day out of classroom to visit a local historical monument, an adventure break in the UK or a tour of another country, school trips have seen something of a resurgence in recent years. This article looks at the benefits they bring to students and what to look for in a trip.
Thinking back to our school days it is often the school trips that stick in our memories. The importance of such trips has been recognised and a whole industry has developed providing a range of experiences geared at school age children. Whilst there are undoubtedly benefits for such trips, however, they can be expensive so you will want to be sure they are worthwhile.
There are a number of reasons why educational trips are used as a teaching method. They can help reinforce concepts and ideas that have been taught in the classroom, bring to life or give practical experience of a subject and help children to retain information about the subject being taught. Creating an informal learning environment can be particularly valuable for some children, particularly those who struggle to learn from more traditional methods.
Whilst educational trips are primarily used to educate, there are a number of less obvious outcomes. Children get to go somewhere they haven’t been before and this increases their independence and engages them. The experience also gives them greater social skills as they learn to travel in a group and respect the environment they are taken to. Practical experience can lead to an increased interest in the subject matter of the trip and greater engagement with study going forward and, of course, they have fun!
Making It Worthwhile
A school trip, however, will only give these benefits if it is appropriate, well planned and orchestrated. It should support the learning your child is experiencing in school and the purpose of the trip and its objectives should be clearly stated. The destination should have been thoroughly researched by the school and they should give you clear information about how safety will be managed.
The school itself should demonstrate they are managing the risks associated with the trip in a sensible manner. This does not mean that they have pages and pages of risk assessments but that they have put sensible precautions in place to reduce risk, such as by having appropriate staff to pupil ratios and that the staff attending the trip are clear about their roles and responsibilities.
For trips that include staying away from home you should be provided with full information about the trip including details of the accommodation, the care provided during the night, what kit your child needs, how much spending money is appropriate and whether your child will be able to contact you.
Well organised and appropriate school trips can be of great educational importance to children and young adults. As well as helping to reinforce learning and engage and enthuse students they can also increase independence and confidence and, of course, give lots of enjoyment and memories.
Adriana Frederick writes about child development for a range of websites and blogs. She is particularly interested in educational trips and learning outside of the classroom.