Recently, 7 students from a university drowned during their field trip. It is indeed a very tragic and heartbreaking incident that will definitely change on how schools should conduct such activitites.
News like this makes me remember my high school days. As an unica hija to an overprotective father, I am rarely allowed to go on educational field trip, camping, birthday parties, or movie dates with friends. I admit that I had tampo when it comes to this issue, thinking my father doesn't want me to have fun at all. My mom, of course, would try to talk my father about it, but in most cases my father was still very firm on his decision.
Being a parent myself, I now understand and realized that his (my father) overprotectiveness means the other way around. I'm thinking, for sure, that I am going to be one as well. Not because I don't want my little girl to have fun and everything, but I don't want her to get harmed in any way. BUT, it is also my responsibility to explain and let her understand my reason, so there will be no tampuhan and sama ng loob between us. I know it will be one of my biggest parenting challenge, considering the fact that at her age now she is very determined and persistent. I'll make sure that everything will be reasonable enough, and considerations will be given from time to time too when it comes to these activities.
So what would make me say yes?
For sure, during her early school years, where parents are permitted to go, I will definitely be with her on educational field trips or camping. As long as I can, I will be with her. That is a first.
Second, I'd let her go if the field trip is "educational" enough for her, where she would learn a lot from the said activity. Amusement parks are not considered "educational" for me, as to what I had experienced with my 2 high school field trips. Sure it was a whole lot fun outside-classroom experience with friends, but what happened was we just went there, ran around and fell in line waiting to be next on the ride. There were no "tour" guide that would've explained to us the educational concept of each rides, which should have been the purpose of the educational field trip.
Third, the location. If it will be held on locations that would take 2-3 hour drive away from the city, I might not permit her to go. Travels on hi-ways are risky enough for buses full of children. Sure do, bus drivers will drive safely, but are we sure that other drivers are driving responsibly that they wouldn't cause an accident?! This also applies on camping. Camping grounds or locations that are hot spots are definitely a no-no! (If you know what I mean?!) Being a retired military daughter, I grew up aware of the dangers on such places.
Fourth, adult supervision vs. number of students. I want to make sure there are enough adults to supervise the activity. Which means, teachers, advisers, coordinators and even school officials should be present. The school could perhaps ask for volunteers from senior students to help (help, but not fully responsible on supervising) watch over younger students. They could be grouped to an assigned teacher with a senior volunteer that would act as a leader and have a buddy system for group members. This way, children will also learn to look out for each other.
Fifth, but probably not the last, parental consent and waivers. Each waiver that I brought home to my father was always an issue to us. He would always let me understand the reason why he wouldn't sign the waiver. He endlessly explained to me the waiver stresses that whatever happens to me during the activity, the school doesn't hold responsibility of it. For me, with or without waiver, the school have the first hand responsibility on their students. Proper planning, distribution of duties, and constant follow ups with the assigned person is a MUST. You don't just plan out an educational field trip or camping in just one sitting, or else, unpleasant situations might happen. I must be informed by the school about the action plans just in case something happens and the itinerary of the whole trip. I will, somehow, would have a peace of mind knowing the school are prioritizing the student's safety.
For now, I'll worry myself less. Hopefully, we will find a very nice school that would really think about the welfare of their students. And by that time, DepEd, DECS, CHED or whoever is assigned, might already imposed stricter rules on how schools should conduct educational field trips, camping, or other school activities.
After all, we just want what's best and safe for our precious ones, right?!
My name is Aine and I'm a full-time mom going crazy everyday with my beautiful witty little girl. I'm into pens, watercolor, calligraphy, jeans and flip-flops! Welcome to my own little space, let's eat, learn, and create together!
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