Purpose of field trips
The Calgary Board of Education defines field trips as “Off-Site Activities”.
The purpose of these off-site activities is detailed in CBE Administrative Regulation 3027 – Off-Site Activities, where it is stated that the purpose is to enable students to participate in quality off-site experiences that are:
- At the heart of the educational process
- Connected to the Guide to Education and the Program of Studies
- Relevant, flexible, responsive, affordable and accessible
Recognizing the need for responsible care of the children, off-site activities must take place within a context of the safety and security of students, staff, volunteers and the Calgary Board of Education and include appropriate planning to manage the risks. The Calgary Board of Education further expects that off-site activities demonstrate the key understandings that:
- Learning requires purposeful involvement
- Interpersonal relationships are essential to the learning process
- Knowledge is constructed within a climate of inquiry
- Clear expectations and relevant feedback are needed
- Diversity is valued within a responsive environment
The Calgary Board of Education invites parents and guardians to play an active role preparing their child for participation in an off-site activity. The more information that a parent or guardian has about an up-coming activity, the better they can help to ensure that their child goes well prepared and returns having a valuable educational experience. When we as a community grant permission for our children to participate in these activities, we must recognize that everyone has an important support and reinforcement role in establishing a positive, safety-oriented attitude.
An off-site activity usually originates with the classroom teacher who makes a proposal to his or her principal. After all appropriate levels of approval have been granted, correspondence is initiated with the parents, guardians and volunteers:
- The teacher-in-charge provides written information regarding the off-site activity including hazards unique to the field trip different from participating in an activity at the school, using Acknowledgement of Risk forms and other documents.
- The consent of the parent, guardian, or volunteer must be obtained before the student may participate in an off-site activity
- A parent meeting is required for all overnight off-site activities, and may be held for other off-site activities
Questions parents should ask
Here are some questions you may want to consider when your child is invited to participate in an off-site activity. They are the same questions which the Calgary Board of Education considers before granting approval for each trip. In communication with your school, the teacher-in-charge will be more than happy to answer your questions and concerns, and you will be better equipped to help prepare your child.
- What are the potential hazards or risks?
- What kind of incidents could occur from these risks?
- What are the safety procedures for the group or participant?
- Is everyone trained in the activity and familiar with the environment?
- Is everyone properly equipped, and is this equipment properly fitted and adjusted?
- Does everyone know how to use the equipment?
- How will emergencies be handled?
- What communication links will be maintained during the off-site activity?
Volunteering on a field trip
If you are interested in going along with your child as a volunteer on an off-site activity, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Volunteers on an activity are considered as representatives of the Calgary Board of Education and are subject to the same expectations as staff
- Volunteers must have the experience and qualifications appropriate for the off-site activity
- Volunteers are covered by the CBE’s liability insurance policy while performing their assigned duties
- Volunteers are covered by WCB while performing their duties
- Volunteers receive direction from and are accountable to the teacher-in-charge
- Volunteers are subject to the requirements of Administrative Regulation 5003 – Volunteers, which includes an application and a police security screening check
Contact the teacher-in-charge or the school principal to indicate your interest to volunteer on a school field trip.
Content Moderator: G. McDougall
May 6, 2013