Rolling Kids - Class Outings
Most children love going on class outings and teachers can use them to reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. So, how can the impact and learning be maximised?
Preparation is vital
Some children battle with changes to their routine so it is important that you prepare children for where they will be going, what they will be seeing, etc. This is a great time to reinforce concepts learned during lessons. Make sure that you prepare the venue and speakers beforehand, especially if you require modifications. Choose venues that are accessible to all children and remember to check that they have accessible bathrooms if needed. Make sure that there are spaces for children to lie down or bend forward to relieve pressure, particularly if any of them are wheelchair users.
It is important that you notify parents of intended outings and make sure that they sign permission slips before leaving the school grounds. Always ensure that the school and parents know where you will be going and what time you are expected back. Make sure that you take a first aid kit, children’s medications (eg. for bee sting allergy), warm cloths and a cell phone in case of emergencies. You may want to give each child an arm band or sticker with your cell number on it in case they get lost. This is very important, especially for children with communication barriers.
Give children clear boundaries
Before you leave it is important that each child knows what you expect from them and what behaviour you require. You can dramatise or ask questions such as "if you get lost and can't find the group what should you do?" Remember to make these age appropriate, as you do not want to scare the children but do want to give them the skills they may need in an emergency.
Encourage parents to attend
It is always great to have parents come along on class outings as they can not only assist with transportation but can also be an extra pair of eyes and hands. It is important that you provide them with clear expectations and rules so that they know how to help.
Make sure that the transport you use is safe and accessible. Make sure that children can get on and off safely and know exactly where to wait, especially if they need assistance. All children should be restrained, make sure that their wheelchairs are securely clamped in place and that they are wearing seat belts. Ensure that no children stand or lean out of windows when driving.
If you are going to see something such as a museum, make sure that the display areas are not too high so that all the children, including those in wheelchairs, can see. When sharing information get the children to form a semicircle around you or the speaker. Make sure that shorter children and those making use of assistive devices are fully involved and positioned near the front.
Outings should be fun so make sure that they are enjoyable and that all children are fully involved and can participate.