Planning Your Field Trip
Field Trips are a fun way to connect student learning to the real-world. Often they can serve as a culminating event youth are motivated to work towards. While fun for adults and youth, field trips take careful planning and forethought to run smoothly and successfully.
Define the purpose of the trip and how it relates to the curriculum or activity, including objectives and goals of the trip.
Develop a budget which takes into consideration transportation costs, such as the cost of buses or gas for a staff-driven vehicle, tolls and parking fees, admission prices, food if purchasing and any other associated costs. Determine if you will be collecting field trip fees. If collecting fees, document fees collected (who they are from, amounts, and when collected). Be sure to follow your school or organization’s policies on handling money from students.
Develop an Itinerary for the trip. This should include a timeline for the day, stops and activities. Prepare field trip permission form and a parent letter home that explains the purpose and details of the trip.
For 21st CCLC sites, there are special considerations you must make to be in fidelity with your grant. To ensure compliance with state and federal laws, policies, and regulations, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) requires all 21st CCLC programs to request approval for any field trip supported by 21st CCLC funds (Remember this does not include lunch).
The field trip request form, which is in our Templates and Samples box on this page, must be submitted to the VDOE as soon as field trips are planned but no later than 30 calendar days prior to a proposed field trip. No 21st CCLC funds should be expended for the field trip prior to approval. The VDOE 21st CCLC specialist will communicate via e-mail with the trip requestor regarding any questions/concerns and denial/approval status.
Grantees can sometimes find it challenging to develop field trips that are meaningful and allowable. As outlined in the presentation Field Trips: “You Want to Go Where?” , trips should be connected to the academic or enrichment program and provide an educational experience from which students can grow academically or culturally. Trips can’t be for entertainment. Remember to document how all field trips are linked to program goals and academic learning. For more ideas on approved field trips, you can review these ideas for engaging field trip activities and this list of 21st CCLC Approved Field Trips.