Consider such factors as liability and financial costs when planning a school trip.
Consider such factors as liability and financial costs when planning a school trip.

Every kid likes day away from school. And when that day involves hiking through the woods, touching starfish or checking out the dinosaur exhibit at the local museum, it's a win-win for kids, parents and staff. That's why a school field trip is a common option for schools to expand their students' learning experience. A well-organized school trip can be fun for students and give teachers a chance to conduct a lesson without the limitation of a classroom. But with the positives come the negatives. It's important to keep in mind the inherent risks in planning a trip. For a school trip to work, it needs to meet both the learning requirements of students and safety requirements set by the school.

Advantage: Hands-On Learning

School trips are typically designed to support a student’s classroom learning experience. A school trip is an ideal place to allow the student to see real-life applications of academic lessons. Moreover, some school trips integrate actual assignments for students to investigate during the trip; for example, in a physics class outing, students may be asked to estimate factors such as velocity, time and distance for a roller coaster ride in an amusement park.

Advantage: Community Interaction

Schools separate the student from the rest of the world to create a highly controlled academic environment. School trips put the students back into the community to see the value of their learning. These types of trips are comprehensive in nature; instead of addressing any specific subject, the trip puts students in real-life scenarios and requires dealing with other people. For example, a school trip to help a homeless shelter for a day teaches students the value of charity and allows students to apply different skills such as service, proper communication and problem-solving.

Disadvantage: Opportunity and Actual Cost

School trips are almost always more expensive than their in-class learning. Teachers typically need a very good reason to propose a trip – the trip has to give a type of learning that is not achievable in a classroom setting. Actual costs can pile up quickly: venue reservation, gas and possible boarding costs. Moreover, trips usually take a day at least, weeks at most. This absence from class means missed days of in-school learning, which may put a teacher behind schedule.

Disadvantage: Liability

In the event of an emergency during the trip, the school is commonly held liable for any harm that happens to a student. The teacher, bus driver and parent chaperones are ultimately responsible for the safety of every student at all times. In preparing for a trip, the school needs to take measures to minimize the chance of anything going wrong. A common method is to require a signed permission form; this typically contains a parent’s signature but can also note other important factors, such as the trip agenda, emergency contact numbers, a list of current medications and notes regarding allergies.