Field trips

Successful participation in field trips enables students to enjoy positive interactions with others and be engaged in and benefit from a variety of learning activities.

Choose the statement below that best describes how this student participates in field trips.
This will help you identify a starting point for selecting strategies (e.g., 1=specialized, 2=targeted, 3=universal).

  • 1. Requires one-to-one assistance to ensure student safety and/or to facilitate appropriate behaviour and social interaction during field trips
  • 2. Requires frequent (e.g., more than three per field trip) reminders and close adult supervision to demonstrate and maintain appropriate behaviour during field trips
  • 3. May require occasional (e.g., less than twice a field trip) reminders to demonstrate appropriate behaviour during field trips but generally demonstrates appropriate behaviour on these outings

Universal Supports benefit all students

  • Ensure that field trips are organized to maximize student engagement and have:
    • clear goals and purposes
    • structures and activities that are engaging and meaningful to students
    • reasonable timelines (e.g., start and finish on time, all activities can be completed within timelines, minimal downtime between activities).
  • Choose activities thoughtfully to ensure all activities are inclusive and all students can participate and be successful.
  • Develop effective routines that will support positive behaviour and participation during field trips, such as:
    • previewing goals and program schedule with students prior to the field trip
    • planning for active supervision.
  • Communicate clear expectations about behaviour and participation during field trips prior to the trip.
  • Teach, practise and review routines that are unique to the field trip one to three times before the event.
  • Plan for extra supervision needed, such as parent or community volunteers or buddies from another grade. Assign clear roles and responsibilities to volunteers and provide them with activity schedules, behaviour expectations and tips for supporting individual students during the event.
  • Preview the purpose and program for each upcoming field trip with students so they have a general idea of what to expect.
  • Post visual reminders for behaviour expectations on field trips in classroom prior to the trips, review before leaving on the trips. Include these behaviour reminders in any printed material that students will be using during the trips. When appropriate, collaborate with students to develop these visual reminders.
  • Use descriptive feedback to acknowledge positive field trip behaviour demonstrated by individuals, groups of students and/or the class as a whole.

Targeted Supports benefit students with more specific needs

  • Pair individual students with positive peers who can serve as role models and provide support during a field trip.
  • Provide proximity by positioning yourself (or a volunteer supervisor) nearby individual students who may require support during the field trip.
  • For students who require more structure and reassurance, develop and review social stories about what will happen during a field trip.
  • Identify low-key calming activities (e.g., playing with a fidget toy, drawing a picture) that students, who are easily overstimulated, can use on as-needed basis during a field trip.
  • Work with individual students to develop low-key cues and prompts, such as a hand on your chest to remind them to take a deep breath and calm down.
  • Provide personalized visual checklists of what to do on the field trip that students can carry with them for reference. These visuals can also include cues for positive self-talk such as "I can do it" or "Keep trying."

Parents know their children well and can offer insights on how to support their social and emotional well-being. There is strength in collaborating on strategies that could be used at home, at school and in the community.


Specialized Supports benefit the small number of students with sensory, physical, cognitive or behavioural needs that require intensive, individualized interventions

  • Provide parents with information on any upcoming field trips so they can help identify potential concerns or safety issues and solutions for addressing these concerns.
  • For students with intense sensitivities to sound, explore the use of sound-muffling ear plugs that would minimize noise (e.g., loud music, cheering, machines) during activities.
  • In exceptional cases, an individual student may need 1:1 adult support to facilitate participation in field trips, including social interactions with peers and other adults. This support should be provided as unobtrusively as possible. In addition, the adult providing this 1:1 should collaborate with the student's learning team to identify and facilitate as many ways as possible to create opportunities, provide strategies, modify activities and adjust and/or fade support so the student can experience some degree of independence throughout the field trip.
  • Consider limited-time participation for students who experience intense agitation or anxiety during new experiences. They may benefit from participating in part of the field trip and then gradually increasing the participation time for each field trip throughout the school year.