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I want to tell you about the 1 easy, fun trick I used to tame School Field Trip chaperoning chaos, and it actually worked!
When I signed up to chaperone my daughter’s kindergarten class on their first field trip, I was a little nervous that I bit off more than I could chew. But, this easy chaperoning trick I want to tell you about made a huge difference!
I mean, they are all wonderful, fun kids, but the thought of them loose on a farm on an October day to play at several play stations sounded more than chaotic.
This farm was so cool and vast that there was a multi-acre corn maze, a tractor-pulled barrel train ride, a wagon ride, a petting zoo, bounce houses, tricycle races and so on.
It was going to be hard to keep everyone together in such a large and distraction-filled place.
I needed a plan.
But, the overwhelm of thinking about the field trip led straight to just plain not thinking about it at all… until the day came to meet my group of 3 kids. I know, I know, 3 kids, including my own, is not that bad at all, but, they are still 3 individuals with different needs and ideas.
So, as I met my crew, it occurred to me that we essentially were a team for the day, so why not create a situation where they actually felt like a part of a team?
What does a team have? A team name! What engages kids? Giving them a say and a choice in what they do.
So, shortly after receiving my group, I gathered them together and quickly asked them each to provide a suggestion for a team name. They didn’t hesitate to offers their suggestions!
After getting input from each of the kiddos, our team decided our team name for the day would be “Team Rocket”. It only took 20 seconds and then we were off to the bounce houses.
I was so relieved! I felt like I had a better handle on the day. Instead of calling ALL three names every time I needed to herd them up, I just called out: “Team Rocket, we’re heading to the train ride” (or the wagon ride or whatever). And, we seemed to be the only group with a team name so they immediate knew I was calling them.
Yeah, it felt a little silly calling out “Team Rocket” in the middle of the field trip, but my sanity was more than worth it 🙂
Now that we were a team with an official name, I could leverage some of the best practices of teams – like huddling together to receive the game plan for the moment.
So, I thought I’d try this out and said, “Ok, Team Rocket, let’s come in for a huddle”, and, you know what? They did! One boy in particular had been watching his football because he immediately crouched down to a bent-knee position to listen! I was amazed! I wasn’t sure that would work, but wow!
We even put our hands in the middle and shouted, “Team Rocket” as we raised our arms up. Wow!
So, here are some of the reasons I think this group name thing worked:
- It’s creative! Kids love to come up with fun names for things! Their creativity just flows!
- It shows respect. Since opinions from all of the kids are requested from the start, the kids feel respected by the chaperone and the other kids
- Structure. It helps them make sense of a new situation, which was, in this case, a visit to a new and unfamiliar place
- It says that the group is a unit. The team name instantly tells the kids that they are part of a unit, expected to stay together and are not to go off by themselves
- It’s memorable. Chaperones can easily remember one team name rather than the names of several kids