Field Trips in Preschool?

Updated on February 24, 2010
L.C. asks from Downers Grove, IL
21 answers

My son's preschool has a field trip coming up and im not sure im comfortable letting him go. He is 4 and has never been anywhere without me or a relative. He would be totally fine without me, but im concerned that he could get lost or seperated from the group. I could put my name in the drawing to go with, but there is no gaurantee i will be picked. Do you think this is too young to travel in a bus and go on a field trip with out me? I really think im not going to let him go, but wanted see how other moms feel.

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So What Happened?

I went on the trip with my son and im glad i did. Where we went had a lot of kids and i could see a preschooler getting lost in the mix. I certainly would not have been comfortable letting him go there without me. In the future i will either go with or not let him attend. Several moms in the class said the same. Since most moms that responded felt the same way, i dont think im being irrational. I know there were one or 2 who were all for letting their kids explore without them at the age of 4, and i seriously question thier parenting abilities and safety of thier children. Thanks for all the great advice.

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answers from Chicago on

My daughter went on trips when she was 4 and I was a bit nervous. I went on the first trip with them and then her 2nd she did not want me to go. She was so proud when she came home from trip #2 becasue I did not go with her and she felt so big. There are normally 1 parents for every 3 kids. It is go for kids to break out of their everyday schedule. Good luck.



answers from New York on

One of the preschools I looked at had field trips for their 3 and 4 year olds to nearby towns, in school buses and without seat belts. I thought this was dangerous and was told that it's easier to take them out in case of an accident (I think it's more dangerous for them to not be in car seats). I was told I could take my child in my car too as an option, but in the end I decided it was a dealbreaker for me - I'd rather have him not go to the school at all. Other preschools in the area don't do field trips because of liability concerns.

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answers from Chicago on

I have to say that I agree that going on a field trip is too much for a 4 year old. Why don't they invite a parent for each child? They can ask for siblings to be left at home. It is very unsafe for a child to be on a bus without seatbelts and car seats. I really cannot understand this... My best friends son got lost at Brookfield Zoo. He was with a parent chaperone, saw someone he knew, walked away and was lost for hours before they found him. He was 7. It was very traumatic for him, his teachers, and his parents. Teachers may be very watchful of the kids in their group, but parent chaperones have no training. Many are not used to being around any child but their own. I certainly wouldn't want some of the parents that have previously responded to your post being my kids chaperones. Obviously, they have a completely opposite parental style. Good luck.

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answers from Chicago on

Hi L.! My daughter will be going on her first field trip on a bus for 5 miles this Spring. She's in a 3-yr old preschool class (although she's about to turn 4.) I guess I haven't really thought about it in a negative way since I love her preschool, and she is *so* excited about going. Plus, I know they will have 1 adult per 2 students on the trip.

However, he is your son -- and if are not comfortable, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Put your name in the drawing, and if you don't make it, keep him home with you that day. Take him out on your own special excursion and have a terrific day with your son! :)



answers from Dallas on

I would ask to go with him or meet them there. I have seen several day cares and schools with young kids on field trips and I have often wondered where the adults were. Scary thought considering the child could just run out into the street or someone could come up and take a child. From seeing other field trips, I knew my daughter wouldn't go on one without me. Luckily, at her school the kids can only go if a parent or gaurdian drives them and stays with them.



answers from Detroit on

My son went on several field trips with his class. They have gone to a ranch, pumpkin patch and the last trip was to a movie theater to see the Princes and a Frog. I was okay with him going because his teacher is so great. She is on the ball with her job and I feel comfortable with my son being with her. Also, my son has a couple of aides in the class. His class is not very large. His teacher always takes her camera when they go and she sends the pictures home for us. He gets really excited when he knows he is going on a field trip. He loves to get on the bus with the class. I'm going to be so sad when he has to leave her for another school.
but, anyway I guess you have to go with your gut on this one. Do you think that your son will be miserable without you? You can ask how many aides will be helping with the children to keep them safe. sometimes, I don't let my son go places because I just don't like where the trip is. Once my childs aunt was going to a water park with some friends. She wanted to take my son. I would not let him go. It was not that I did not trust his aunt because I feel that she is very responsible. I could not deal with the fact that my son would be at a water park. He is very active and he is unaware of the dangers of water. I would have been a nervous reck so I just said no.
Sometimes we as parents just have to go with what we feel or what we can deal with.



answers from Indianapolis on

My first instinct is to say that you're being over-protective, but when I think about it my kids really haven't been too many places without us or one of our parents either.

If it were my decision, as hard as it is, I'd say let him go. Depending on where the field trip is, chances are, he'll have a great time and will have all kinds of great experiences to share with you. If it's a trip to the Museum of Science and Industry, that's a big deal, and I could certainly see you wanting to be there. If it's to a water park, and you know he's not a good swimmer, I'd say no.

But, if it's to a library or somewhere local and safe, I'd say let him go. It's hard not to be over protective of our kids and to do everything we can to keep them safe. Imagine the look on his face when he comes home to tell you about the great time he had.


answers from Milwaukee on

Ask if you can drive your son... that way you get to go along, not taking up the extra space on the bus and you will feel more comfortable. Even say that you will cover your cost to go, that way the argument of "we don't have enough money to cover you" is avoided. I would also ask how many parents/helpers with be going, at the age of 4 and going to an unfamiliar place it is best to have only 3-4 kids per helper... to me that is another big issue.

At my mother's preschool they always have parents drive, all the kids who's parents can not go along leave the child's car seat to be installed into another parents car. At my mom's preschool most parents work so I usually help out by taking a child a two in my car as well as being an additional helper.

I personal would want to be with my child on the bus at age 3-5. I started riding a bus when I was in first grade. Bus drivers do go through training, we have a school bus company near to our house and I see all the training they do (at least in Waukesha, WI). With the teacher on the bus at least there is someone there who knows them all and the parents are there to help... but I would check to see how much help the teacher has that might help put your mind at ease. Maybe you will get lucky and get chosen to go along!



answers from St. Cloud on

I would feel exactly the way you do. If I couldn't go, I would not send my child......



answers from Orlando on

I wouldn't let my child go without me. You should have the option of driving him there yourself, or if you're OK with him on the bus then meet at the location. If they are going to a public place, they can't stop you from going (and if they tried to, that would send up a red flag for me!!)



answers from Chicago on

I would say you should tell his teacher that you do not feel comfortable with your son going on the field trip without you. Explain that you really do not want him to miss it, but he will not be going if you are not able to join them. They are only four years old, every parent should have the right to go. If you are not picked to attend. Where is the field trip, is the place open to the public? You can always drive your son to the trip yourself and stay with him. When my son was four, I would never even consider him going on a filed trip without me or his father. Definitely talk to the teacher before they pick the parents that will attend the trip.



answers from Chicago on

I am having the same issue. My 4 year old will be going on a field trip in a few weeks. I think it is important to have good, attentive teachers and parent volunteers. I am nervous about the bus thing but I have friends who let their 5 year olds go to camp on the bus and they look at me like I am crazy, so I am trying to relax about it.
I have no answer to your dilemna. If you trust your son's teachers that they are VERY attentive then let him go. If you are unsure than maybe as others have said, either drive your own car or explain your uneasiness to his teachers. Good Luck!



answers from Tulsa on

I always took my Child Care kids on field trips, the state regulations require a ratio to be met and a center doesn't meet those they can get in serious trouble. Tell the Director you are uncomfortable and tell her you would like to discuss taking your child yourself, in your car by yourself, and joining the group unless you are selected to be a parent volunteer.

We are over 100 miles from the nearest Zoo so I couldn't go there so we picked family farms, fire stations, the library, horse farm, we saw pigs, sheep, cattle, all kinds of hikes and Summer trips to the pool.

My pet peeve: School buses are not required to put children in car seats. They don't even have to make them put on seat belts. But it is unlikey your child will ride without a seat belt. If the center has their own vans they fall under child care guidelines and not public school bus laws.



answers from Kansas City on

sheesh, don't stifle your child due to your fears. In other countries, kids that age go on overnight trips. Has their preschool ever lost a child? No, or they probably wouldn't still be in business.



answers from Denver on

How does *he* feel about going on a field trip with all his classmates? If he's excited and enthusiastic, then let him go.

The teachers are trained to keep the kids together -at our school they have a rope with loops for the kids to hang onto, one kid per loop- if they didn't feel comfortable taking the kids, they wouldn't. Mine's been on several now and had a lot of fun each time.

Each step in parenthood involves more 'letting go'. From the time you give birth, to quitting nursing, to getting them to eat on their own and bathroom on their own, you're teaching them to be independent. This is just another step. GL!



answers from Chicago on

I did not allow my daughter to go on the class field trip in her 3 year old pre-k class. It wasn't because I wasn't comfortable with the supervision, I fully trust her teachers and that they would be well-cared for on the trip. I just couldn't get comfortable with putting my 30lb 3 year old on a school bus for a 30 minute trip with nothing more than a lap belt. She is in a five-point harness car seat. She goes lots of places with relatives without me, but I always send the car seat. Even if I chaperoned it wouldn't have solved the car seat issue, I could no more protect her in an accident on the bus, then anyone else. Most of the other kids in her class did attend, and I felt bad that she missed out....but at the end of the day I have to live with the decisions I make. There will be other trips when I feel she is old enough to ride a bus with a lap belt. Good luck with your decision =)



answers from Dothan on

My child was close to 3 when she went on her first preschool fieldtrip to the pumpkin patch. I have to say iw as more broken up than she was. It was scary but then again I knew many kids and parents were attending, I was going till my car crapped out 1 day before the trip. all the kids were dressed in special shirts and lots of adults were assigned to the kids. That made me feel comfotable. My daughter had a blast and cant wait to do it again. Again, its harder on you than them really. Let him go he is 4!! If my 2 yr old can handle it your 4 yr old def can!


answers from Dallas on


i was feelig the same 2 years ago when my kid was in preschool he went to a park and a museum i was so worried about him a night before i can't sleep but he was so happy to go with his class i let him go that day i was so worried all day thinking about any bad that can happen and when he comeback he was so happy and tired talking all day about the trip.

let him go and try no to worry so much.


answers from Austin on

When my son was in pre-k, his class took a field trip to the mall to build-a-bear and picture with Santa. I didn't really have to do much because they had the kids taught well to follow the teachers. They had a colorful rope with handles to help the kids stay in line, and when they asked them to sit and wait, they all did. In kindergarten, they went to a farm. There were more kids per teacher, and they actually told me I HAD to go along because the aide was helping a handicapped child. The school bus went on the bumpy back roads, and the kids were really bouncing out of their seats. His class went to the same place in 1st grade. I went along again, and it was a better experience. There were more parents helping, including the teacher's mom. I felt good about all 3 times I went on field trips. In pre-k, I got to see how well my son acted with the support of the teachers. In K & 1st, I kept him from getting lost and got to see his excitement at learning new things. His schools never limited the number of parents that could go along, just the spaces on the bus and who was paid for.



answers from Dallas on

I am going to give you my experience, however I do not know if the outcome would have been different if I was there…..My 4 year old daughter went on a field trip with her school to a pumpkin patch and I had just started a new job so I was not able to go. I got a call from one of the mothers that went saying my daughter had fallen from a play structure and was going to be transferred by ambulance to Cook’s. Because I was not there, my little 4 year old had to ride by herself in the ambulance, even though the school had signed permissions slips….they would not let her teacher go with her. I felt so bad! She was checked out and did not have any serious injuries…..but the lesson learned for me was that I will always be there when she goes on field trips! I know my story is one out of thousands….but I just wanted to share it with you. I think field trips are important, however I think it should be your choice if you are able to go with your child.



answers from Houston on

My children went to a petting zoo, the local grocery store, and a small amusement park/farm while in preschool. To each one I let my children ride the bus with their friends but then met them at the location. I was always very impressed with the way the teacher's handled the group and felt comfortable that if a trip every came up that I could not go to, I would be ok with my kids being there. It all depends on the location and your comfort with the teachers. Go with your gut, but as others have said even if you can't fit on the bus with the class you should be able to go along on your own if your schedule permits.

Good luck,

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