Being a parent chaperone is a vital part of making a field trip successful. The end of the school year is right around the corner for most El Paso elementary schools. Spring field trips and 5th-grade field trips are events most kids look forward to all year long!
There are simple ways to really help out your child’s teacher and make it very special for every student.
Growing up, my mom worked full-time. To this day, I still remember how she would always make arrangements to chaperone my field trips. It felt so special to have her there. I have tried to do the same for my kids and consequently have been on my share of field trips, including some to Cattleman’s Steakhouse, The El Paso Zoo, and La Union Corn Maze.
I have used my observations in addition to crowd-sourcing from my many wonderful teacher friends to make the following list for parent chaperones. Every teacher I spoke to emphasized how grateful they are to just have any help and an extra set of eyes on their class. Your presence alone is appreciated, so don’t feel pressured to do everything on this list.
Safety First and Foremost
- Each chaperone will most likely be assigned a small group to keep track of. Try to memorize the kids’ names quickly. Write them down on your hand or save them on your phone if you have to.
- Frequently count your small group and assist with total headcounts.
- Don’t be afraid to take charge and correct the children if their safety is at risk.
- The El Paso sun can be harsh in May–remind your group to drink water and stay in the shade when possible. Do not apply sunblock to any child that is not your own just in case of skin sensitivities.
- Ask the teacher if you should be aware of any allergies.
Collaborate with the Other Parent Chaperones
- Start a group text with the other chaperones a week or two before the trip to keep each other in the loop.
- Coordinate and arrange for all supplies and inclusive snacks that are needed for the class among yourselves.
- Pick a meeting spot for parent chaperones to carpool before departure.
Help Transport Coolers, Lunches, etc.
- Check if the teacher needs help picking up the sack lunches before departure.
- Have you ever loaded heavy coolers onto a bus? It’s difficult. Ask if the parent chaperones can transport them for the group in your personal vehicles.
- Packing extra water bottles is never a bad idea.
Bring Name Tags
- Name tags will make it easier for the teacher(s) to remember and direct all parent chaperones.
- You can label and identify the separate small groups of children also using labels. I would advise against writing the kids’ names. Instead designate names for the small groups like “Group 1” or “Red Team.”
- Stay off your phone.
- This is an extremely special day for the kids. Interact with them and make it fun.
- Be aware of your surroundings, schedule, and departure times.
- Check in with your group often. Ask if everyone is feeling okay or if anyone has to use the bathroom. Being off campus can be a lot for littles. Parent chaperones should try to make each student feel secure and cared for.
Bring garbage bags. Wherever kids go, the gummy wrappers are sure to follow. It is often easier to walk around and collect trash than to have the kids roam to the nearest trashcan on their own. This is especially true for younger kids. Be a good guest and help keep the facility clean. Be the school with a great reputation!
Your children will most likely not remember their favorite lesson of the year or all the quizzes and assignments they had in math. However, they will remember their field trip for years to come! Holding their little hand as they proudly introduce you to their classmates will be a memory you will cherish as well.
» » » » » » RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Top Attractions to Visit with Kids in El Paso « « « « « «
If you are fortunate enough to have time to volunteer as a parent chaperone, I hope you enjoy the day with your child and end up being the real Teacher’s Pet!
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of El Paso Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.