New Jersey Teacher
Taking a field trip with your students is a wonderful thing. You get to explore a new place, potentially in a new city, with a group of young individuals who may have never had such an experience with a group. A wonderful time is had by all on field trips!
For starters, going on a field trip is very exciting for both the teacher and the students. Oftentimes, teachers from previous grades will be asked to accompany the school on a field trip, which means your child may get a chance to bond with teachers that they have had in previous years. This may also mean that, if your child has an older brother or sister, they can meet their sibling’s current teacher and get a chance to bond with them.
Creating the permission slip could be daunting, yet exciting — after all, I’m sure you have some great trips in mind! Make sure you include the basics on your permission slip outline, such as the following.
At the top of your permission slip, make sure you include the name of the location you are going. Often, parents like to look up information about the location, so include information such as the phone number and address, if at all possible. When I worked at a middle school in New Jersey a few years ago, both the 6th and 8th grade students went on a field trip on the same day. Parents would have complained if they didn’t know the location of their child!
Also make sure you include the date. If necessary, make sure to include a rain date. At the same middle school, the 7th grade students went on a trip to a local water park to celebrate the year. However, the initial date got rained out. Although the teachers panicked because many of them did not create lesson plans (teachers — make sure to always have a backup), the students were ready to go to the water park two days later on the rain date!
Make sure to include the time of the trip. Sometimes, a trip will take all day, in which case write that the students will be gone for the duration of the school day. If the trip will only take a few hours, include that as well. Especially ensure to include the hours if the students need to arrive before school to catch a bus, or if they will be returning from the trip after school.
When you are writing your permission slip outline, make sure that you include the cost of the trip as well. This includes how to pay (cash, check, etc.). If a trip is free, put that on the slip! I made the mistake of not writing the price of a field trip to a local theater when it was free of cost and it was a huge headache for me!
When writing your permission slip, also include when the slip (and money) should be returned. Be sure to remind your students every day before the due date so there are no hiccups and everyone who wants to go on the trip can do so. Also, make sure you include who the slip and money goes to — is a teacher collecting it, or is the school secretary?
Now that the basics are out of the way, it would be beneficial to include the reason you are going on the trip (besides a fun and memorable time for the students)! Most of the time, the trip has to do with the curriculum. A few examples that have happened in my experience as an educator include a trip to a local theater putting on A Christmas Carol a week after the English class reads it, or a trip to the natural science class after your science class finishes a unit on rocks and minerals.
As I mentioned earlier, some trips are special end of the year trips. The trip to the water park I mentioned had nothing to do with the curriculum — although I suppose the physical education teachers could have made a few connections to the curriculum if they wanted to do so. At the end of my fifth-grade year, my class went to a local day camp for a day of fun.
Please make sure when you are writing your permission slip outline that you have a section for the parents to fill out. Typically, it includes a lot of pertinent information. A sample can be found below:
I give permission for my child ________________ (name) to attend the field trip to ________________ (location) on ________________ (date) from ________________ (time departing school) to ________________ (time returning to school).
Depending on your school’s policy, you may want to include an emergency contact number, especially if the students you teach are too young to have cell phones. This would be especially handy for you to carry on the trip, by the off chance there is an emergency.
It may also be helpful to include a section for a list of allergens that the child has. The school nurse should definitely have this information in his or her office — but, by the off chance the nurse does not come on the trip, it would be in your best interest to know what each child is allergic to, if anything.
With all this information ready for you, writing a permission slip will be easy! Depending on the grade level you teach, you may even want to include a picture or two. You also may want to translate your permission slip into other languages if your school has a large ELL population.
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