• Patricia Mezu, LL.M., M.A

Pre-School Trips - A Case Study

I love planning field trips for preschoolers!

I particularly enjoy the challenge presented when there are limited options. Creating new and enjoyable experiences that are linked to the curriculum, is a must when planning trips. Here are three (of many) things I have learned over the years.

1. Preparation

Every leader will know that preparation is key to success. Plan events annually, so that when the new academic year starts everything is in place. At this stage, ensure that all the paper work is ready too, such as

  • Consent forms - written permission from parents

  • Letters to parents asking for volunteers (if necessary)

  • E-mails to the management of the chosen location 

2. Safety

Once a location has been chosen, I always visit it beforehand and conduct a risk assessment. It's important to identify any potential safety hazards and to make sure that the venue is suitable for preschoolers. I consider:

  • Access - for example, how easy will it be for the school bus to park; what is the distance from the parking area to the main entrance 

  • Numbers of pupils - I identify the maximum number of pupils that can visit, during the trip. I always ask the service providers how many schools will be visiting on the same day; whether there will be a lot of older children on the day; 

  • Washrooms - this is sometimes overlooked, but I have a look at the washrooms to make sure they are clean and child friendly

On the day of the trip additional safety measures will include:

  • Preparing the children beforehand and guiding them in terms of safety when they are off the school premises

  • Good and safe adult/child ratios, ensuring that the children are well supervised

  • Bus safety

  • Provision for first aid

  • Full charged mobile phones

  • Emergency contact details

  • Plans for snack

3. Location

I work in Dubai and thankfully, over the last seven years (at least!), there have been additional choices when it comes to preschool trips. The weather plays a role when deciding. Here are just five of my favourite places (click on the title for a direct link to the relevant website):

  1. The Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai - a fairly new and well thought out option for preschoolers (and older children too!)  

  2. The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo - a great place to develop and expand vocabulary!

  3. Dubai Miracle Garden - it also has a Butterfly Garden (separate charge)

  4. Al Jalila Cultural Center for Children - this wonderfully child friendly space, also hosts the UAE's children's radio - 'Pearl FM'!

  5. Small Parks - always a safer option, so that one can keep a close eye on all the children. For example, Safa Park 2 (not to be confused with the much larger Safa Park 1).

There are, of course, so many other options available. Please let me know whether you have any tried and well tested, suggestions.

Patricia Mezu is the Director of Professional Minds FZ LLC, a Dubai based early childhood education consultancy.  www.prminds.org   |   info@prminds.org

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