Field trips will be pre-planned and emergency procedures prepared. Field trips will support the classroom educational experience, current curricula, the level and cultural backgrounds of children. Head Start staff will ensure that safety is the first priority on all field trips and outings away from the Head Start site.


  1. All field trips must be developmentally and age appropriate for the children who are attending and must comply with the Playground Safety policy if applicable.
  2. Staff must fill out Field Trip Planning and Approval form and submit to Regional Manager three weeks prior to field trip.
  3. A minimum of two teaching staff will accompany children on any outings that are not on Head Start premises and minimum child supervision ratios will be maintained at all times. There will be a ratio of at least one Head Start staff (not including bus driver) per eight children on field trips.
  4. Children will wear identification (t-shirts, vests, tags) on all outings including trips to nearby parks. The child’s name will not appear on tag. Identification shall consist of “Head Start” and the office telephone number. For safety reasons, tags are not to be worn around the neck.
  5. Emergency consent forms and properly stocked First Aid Kits must be taken on all field trips and other outings. (see Playground Safety policy)
  6. Teachers must ensure that medication or equipment needed to ensure the safety of a child with special medical needs (asthma, diabetes or other potentially life threatening conditions) is taken on the field trip.(see Medication Administration policy)
  7. If there are children who need one on one monitoring or attention and they are currently receiving services from EC CARES, teachers should consult with the EI/ECSE specialist to make plans for the child’s safe participation.
  8. Toileting: A Head Start staff person will always accompany children into off-site restrooms during fieldtrips. If gender restrictions on the public restroom facilities might interfere with this, the teaching staff are required to make arrangements to assure that teaching staff can accompany either male or female children into the public restroom.


  1. No more than 30 minutes  in one-way travel time. Exceptions could be made in outlying areas.
  2. Any field trip requiring bus transportation must be pre-approved by Regional Manager on the Request for Bus Service form.  Form is then sent to the Transportation Manager for approval.  Approval is dependent on the availability of buses and drivers.
  3. Teachers accompanying children on the bus must have completed annual bus monitoring training.
  4. Request for bus service from Head Start must be sent in two weeks prior to the scheduled field trip.
  5. Unenrolled siblings are not permitted to ride the bus on field trips. Siblings attending field trips (via personal vehicles) are the sole responsibility of the parent/guardian for supervision.
  6. Private vehicles can only be used by parent or authorized people to transport their own children. No other Head Start children may ride in that private car.

Food Service for Field Trips

  1. Any field trip requiring food must be pre-approved by the RM.  Submit the forms two weeks in advance of field trip.
  2. Submit request on the Central Kitchen Meal Order form by the 15th of each month for the following month.
  3. Submit “Memorandum-supply form (number of children/adults expected on field trip for supplies, bags, cooler, blue ice, etc.)
  4. Site staff may contact the Food Service Manager or Head Cook to confirm request was received and supplies available one week in advance of the field trip.
  5. Staff will complete Point of Service Meal count during the meal.

Teacher Responsibilities

  1. The field trip will be relevant to the curriculum (reflective of needs, interests and cultures of children). Document relevance on Field Trip Planning and Bus Request forms.
  2. Staff will check that parents have signed permission for field trips. If there is no record of signed permission, written permission will be obtained.
  3. Staff will post notice of field trip in classroom in a place visible to parents showing date and place of excursion in English and in Spanish if applicable.
  4. Classroom discussion will happen both before and after the field trip to prepare children and assess outcomes.
  5. Parents and volunteers will be encouraged to accompany field trips to ensure adequate supervision with appropriate adult/child ratios.
    1. There will be a ratio of at least one Head Start staff (not including bus driver) per eight children on field trips. Whenever possible the adult/child ratio should be as high as one adult per two children.
    2. It is particularly important to have a high adult to child ratio when going places that have either a large number of people present, near water (river, lakes, ocean), or areas that are remote and have few emergency facilities/phones nearby.
  6. Children will be counted and names recorded on an attendance sheet prior to leaving and before returning.
  7. If a meal is being served during field trip, point of service meal count will be taken at that time.
  8. Field trips to the central kitchen will be scheduled in advance with the Food Service Manager or Food Service Assistant

Parent Engagement

  1. Parents will be notified of any details about each field trip such as destination, activities, date and time of trip, and appropriate clothing.
  2. Teaching staff will work with families and other appropriate cooperating professionals (ie. Early Childhood CARES) as needed to ensure safe participation of all children.
  3. Direct service team members will discuss field trips at family events and visits, sharing how the field trips integrate into the curriculum, and how parents can be involved.
  4. Parents are encouraged to attend field trips, however, they may need to provide their own transportation due to limited seating on the bus.

This policy complies with Head Start Performance Standard 1302.47; 1302.30; 1302.31
It was approved by Policy Council on April 8, 1997; August 9, 2005.

Updated July 7, 1999. November 15, 2000. November 6, 2002. June 7, 2004. May 23, 2005. June 2008. September 2016. March 2019
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