Chaperoning a Kindergarten Field Trip

Yesterday I helped chaperone my son's kindergarten class on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. I'm not sure how I thought it would go but at some point in the morning I was given 4 precious children, charged with the responsibility to take care of them, make sure they behave, and please please don't lose them. Of course 1 of these children was my own wild and carefree son who believes that he can do anything and loves to learn through playing.

I gathered my group and learned their names. Two little girls and 2 boys. So far so good. I led them out to the bus and we settled into our seats. Once everyone had boarded we were on our way and I hadn't lost anyone yet.

Busing with kindergarteners is interesting. On the 20 minute or so ride to the pumpkin patch 1 of my girls pulled out a marker and colored her seatmates hand and her belly button green before I realized what she was doing. After that incident I made sure to look back every 30 seconds to make sure they were behaving and following the rules. They weren't.

"Please keep your hands to yourself" and "please keep your bottoms on the seat" were 2 phrases that consistently came out of my mouth. I lost track of how many times I uttered those words and mentally started wondering what in the world I had gotten myself into.

Then we arrived and I found myself checking and double checking what the 4 children took off the bus. Pumpkin bags only, we are leaving backpacks and lunches on the bus for later. I managed to get all 4 off the bus relatively smoothly. Check.

After we arrived we found ourselves waiting amongst a large pumpkin display while waiting for our turn at the barn talk. The kids ran and played all the while the chaperones were standing around mentally counting the children over and over to make sure that no one had run off. No pressure.

None too soon we were ushered in to the barn for barn talk and I got my charges settled on straw bales and ready to hear the presentation. "Barn talk" I soon found consisted of a gal named Farmer Jill holding up various pumpkins and telling the kids what they are called. Warty pumpkin, Cinderella, Knucklehead, Pokemon, Mini me, and Really Long Pumpkin were just some of the varieties she mentioned. At the mention of the Knucklehead pumpkin 1 kindergartener yelled out, "that's what my horse is called." Everyone giggled. I'm pretty sure most of the pumpkin names were made up in order to make the kids laugh. I have never heard of a Pokemon pumpkin before so I'm truly skeptical.

(Authors note: I have not fact checked before posting so I really haven't a clue. I've never grown pumpkins so there could very well be a Pokemon pumpkin.)

After barn talk we were quickly ushered through the animal pens by another gal named Farmer Betty who as it turns out is office staff and actually knew nothing about the animals. I asked her about the chickens and she told me I probably knew more about them than she did. My chin hit the muddy ground when I realized we were getting a farm tour by a fake farmer.

We were shuffled through the animals and hayride very quickly and finally the kids were allowed to play on the cool playground. At that point I was doing pretty good. I hadn't lost any children and I only had to threaten my son once about listening to Mom. Then chaos hit. All the kids were running willy nilly all over the expansive playground and I lost all 4 of my kids in the blink of an eye.

Now in all fairness, I'm certainly not the only one. Each and every chaperone was standing around with funny looks on their faces as they tried to keep track of their groups. It was with great relief that when the whistle blew and kids were rounded up each and every one was accounted for. Then it was off to pick our pumpkins.

Pumpkin picking is a very interesting and possibly confusing time in a kindergarteners life. They want the biggest pumpkin they can find and so they pick what they think is the best pumpkin and then 2 seconds later they decide that another one is much better. Then they figure out that the pumpkin they picked is too big and heavy and the search continues for just the right pumpkin.

Eventually pumpkins were picked, lunch was eaten, more playtime was had, and the kids were loaded back onto the bus for the return trip home. Once again the trip was spent telling kids to keep bottoms on the seats and their hands to themselves. Arriving back at school we helped the kids gather their belongings and get off the bus and back to class where they promptly asked for a snack.

With a huge sigh of relief I left the classroom, walked out of the school and smiled. I didn't lose any children.

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