Ottawa Children’s Festival Field Trip Guide

Thank you for choosing the Ottawa Children’s Festival for your class’ next field trip.  We are very excited to help get you started!  Please look over our website and programme, and feel free to contact us at any time to find out more (contact@ottawachildrensfestival.ca). 

 

Location, Location, Location

The main Festival site is LeBreton Flats Park.  It is located at 1 Vimy Place, right in front of the Canadian War Museum.  Our productions are located either in tents outside or in one of three theatres inside the Museum.   Detailed directions can be found here.

 

On-site Activities

Our partners and vendors provide a variety of free on-site activities (crafts, face painting, educational workshops, and more). Take a look at the onsite activities (likely more will be added as we get closer to the Festival so be sure to check the website often and sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest information). The kids will not be able to do everything.  Find out what they’d like to do and, immediately upon arrival, visit those activities.  We suggest classes break into smaller groups, led by an adult chaperone, and find activities that fit within your show schedule.

Every year the Festival prepares a scavenger hunt for visiting students. There are prizes awarded every day so please enquire about this year’s hunt!

We try our best to provide a fun filled day but please remember that the focus of the field trip is the amazing production(s) you’ll be experiencing!

Services

  1. Washrooms – There are portable washrooms located throughout the LeBreton Flats site. Additionally, there are washrooms inside the Museum.
  2. Accessibility – The Festival prides itself on being completely accessible and barrier free. Please visit our website er free educational workshops onsite. Teachers will receive information on these workshops as they become available.
  3. First Aid – The First Aid tent is located directly beside the Box Office Tent (close to the front entrance of the War Museum).
  4. Lost Child – In the event a child is lost please proceed to the Box Office Tent and staff will coordinate a search. We recommend you point out the Box Office tent to older children, as a meeting spot should you be separated; inform younger children (7 years of age or under) to stay in place and someone will find them.
  5. Food – There is a large dining tent onsite. Additionally, there are picnic tables scattered throughout.  Kids can bring their own lunch.We do have several food vendors.  (Schools may wish to contact the Festival in advance to find out what type of food will be available to purchase onsite.)  Additionally, the Canadian War Museum has a large cafeteria.
  6. Water – We suggest all attendees bring water bottles. We have a refillable water bottle station onsite.  This is a good time to mention that water bottles should be labelled.  There will likely be at least 50 water bottles in our lost and found at the end of the Festival.
  7. Site Map – Please visit our website to view our map and directions. The newest map will appear closer to the Festival but the last year’s layout will be very similar.

Do contact us if you have any questions or concerns about the services offered.  We strive to do whatever we can to ensure all people have the opportunity to experience this amazing Festival!

 

Curriculum Links and Educational Guides

Choosing field trips for your class can be a daunting task.  The most important question you need answered is how does this support our curriculum?

Educational Guides are available for some shows. If available, it will be located on the show’s programming page. 

Please contact us to find out how we can support your experience in the classroom and out.  Our staff can research curriculum links and classroom activities to assist with educational elements of your field trip including learning outcomes, study concepts, and key vocabulary – just let us know what you need to help you get the most out of your visit and we will do our best to assist you.

 

Picking Your Show

There are a few things to consider before choosing the actual show:  age range, language, subject matter and length of show.  For example, kindergarten children might be able to stay still for a 45 minute show but get wiggly after that.  A 60 minute, quiet puppet show may not be the best choice – a 60 minute circus or music show, however, would be awesome.  We would love the opportunity to help you make the right choice.

The quality of productions offered by the Ottawa Children’s Festival, available at extremely low group rates, are hard to beat!  We strive to deliver the best in live performing arts for young people – we offer a lot of Canadian programming and have many international acts as well.  The logistics of booking shows can sometimes take longer than we’d like.  Shows may not be 100% confirmed in the fall, however, we will absolutely have a show that fits your class so don’t be afraid to book early to get a better deal!  Visit our Educators tab on the website to find out about early booking specials.

Our Programming page will provide you with detailed information on all shows offered this year.

 

Volunteers/Chaperones

We are often asked how many volunteers can accompany the students. Our school groups are provided with 1 free ticket for every 10 tickets purchased.  Should your adult to student requirement exceed the 1:10 ratio, additional tickets should be purchased.  Please note, however, that additional volunteers are welcome to join you on the Festival grounds free of charge, we only charge entrance for the shows themselves. 

Note – our Early Bird discounts will help change the ratio to 2:10!

Prepare your volunteers for the trip.  Not all parents instinctively know what you expect.  A short note with a list of expectations and chaperone responsibilities would be very helpful. 

 

Work Out The Cost

School Rates for the Ottawa Children’s Festival have remained unchanged for 18 years. 

We charge $10/ticket with 1 free ticket for each 10 purchased.  Additionally, you will need to contact your school bus company to work out the cost of your visit.  Two classes can usually fit on one school bus so if you team up with another class you can save on transportation costs! Your contact is Lovedyne Dumont, our Educational and Community Outreach Coordinator (love@ottawachildrensfestival.ca) and she will be pleased to assist you.

For further information on ticket costs or to book a show you can:

BOOK EARLY to get your first choice of shows as seating is limited.

 

If the cost is a deterrent there are ways to help.  First, you can fundraise for the Festival visit.  Many schools offer assorted fundraising programs including popcorn, cookie dough and magazine sales.  We also attempt to assist schools through our Adopt-A-School program.  We seek support from local businesses to cover all or part of the ticketing costs.  If there are local businesses in your area let us know and we can approach them for you about assisting with your visit. 

Contact Lovedyne Dumont directly to find out more about pricing or Adopt-A-School.

 

Getting There

Depending on your location, there are a few ways to arrive at our Festival.  Visit our website for directions.

 

Obtaining Permission

Schools need to go through their Principal/Administrator to obtain permission to attend field trips.  Let us help ensure them that this one is not to be missed!  We would be pleased to respond to any questions at all and could even provide testimonials from other schools who have attended.  We could also put you in contact with educators who return year after year that will be happy to share their experience with you.  Check your school calendar to ensure the dates do not conflict with other scheduled events!

 

Permission Forms

With regard to student permission forms, you will need to arrange for parent volunteers/chaperones.  You must decide the proper adult to child ratio for you.  Obviously, this would be higher in kindergarten than in high school.  Additionally, it will vary depending on the behaviour of your students, as well as their age, maturity and any special needs requirements.

 

Have a Backup Plan

It is possible parents may refuse permission, or a child’s behaviour or health may make participation impossible. There should be a plan in place for them to be supervised by another adult at the school while the rest of the class is out for the day.

 

The Fine Print

A 25% non-refundable deposit by school cheque or credit card is required to place your order. After you submit your order, we will contact you to confirm your booking and take your payment information.

Full payment will be due one month prior to the Festival. This will give you time to reconfirm and adjust ticket numbers as needed before your final payment. No changes can be made 2 weeks prior to your visit. Refunds will not be offered should you have fewer students after the 2 week deadline.

Additional tickets can be purchased in advance at any time or onsite, however, the Festival cannot guarantee availability.  For safety reasons, our venues cannot go over capacity.

 

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VISIT TO THE FESTIVAL

Once you’ve arranged your group visit to the Festival, there are ways in which you can really make the most of your visit.

  • Research your chosen production on our website and other sites as well. Are there teacher’s guides or activity guides that support this production?
  • Make a point of adding activities about the production to your lesson plans to tie your field trip into the curriculum, get the children excited about the Festival and get more out of their visit.  Discuss the field trip with them and how it ties in with the classroom activities.
  • Depending on the age of the students, you can introduce photos, vocabulary that will be used, etc.
  • Participate in Contests! – There are contests offered throughout the school year, leading up to our Festival. Some of these contests are for all schools and some are only for groups who have booked a visit.  Classes could win in-school workshops, free onsite pizza parties, and more.
  • Review the code of conduct with the students. Make sure they understand what is expected of them as audience members and as your school’s representatives.
  • The LeBretons Flat site is a large area. There is plenty of green space for you to form a group and kick around a soccer ball or have a discussion.  Many schools take some time to sit with the kids after the show and share their experience.
  • You can visit the Gallery page on our website to view Festival photos from past years.
  • Students can bring journals and pencils to jot down their impressions. After the Festival, be sure to get them to provide their feedback. We would love to have it shared with us!

 

Preparing Students

Preparing your students for their visit to our Festival is extremely important and can add great value to your field trip. 

We have created a document entitled “A Visit to the Ottawa Children’s Festival – Information for Students”.  It can be found here.

Students should also review information found in our FAQ section.

Draft an Itinerary:  Having a schedule created, shared with the students ahead of time, and with copies given to volunteers/chaperones, will help your students be more prepared. Workshops – Groups must sign up in advance and be scheduled into any workshops offered.  Space is limited and these are reserved on a first come, first served basis.  Activities – Groups will not be scheduled into onsite activities.  Before and after your production you are free to roam around the site and discover what is offered.  This actually works best if they kids are broken into smaller groups. 

Pick a Meeting Spot:  Make sure all of the kids know where to meet you in case they get lost.  For very young kids (Grade 3 and under) it is best for them to stay in place and let a volunteer or animator at one of the activities know they are lost and ask for someone to come get them.  For older kids, they can be told to meet you at the Box Office Tent (you can point it out to them when you arrive as it is right by the bus drop off).  If adults are looking for lost children, they should proceed to the Box Office Tent where staff can coordinate search efforts.  We have procedures in place, please don’t worry.

Get a Good Sleep:  The day before, remind your students to get a good night’s sleep.  They should eat a full, nutritious breakfast in the morning and double check (with their parents) that everything they need is in their backpacks and labelled. 

Check the Weather:  Parents should check the weather the morning of the Festival visit and Children should be dressed accordingly.  Sunscreen and hats for sunny weather, rain boots and raincoats for very soggy weather.

 

Educator/Lead Organizer Checklist

You may wish to create a checklist for yourself to ensure you have all supplies needed on hand in time for your field trip.  A sample checklist can be found here.

 

Additional Notes

There are no lockers onsite so attendees will need to carry their belongings.  We suggest the kids bring a “light backpack”.  They should leave any unnecessary items at school and pack only their lunch, a water bottle, and sunscreen or rain clothes (depending on the weather).  Teachers may also wish to have the kids bring a journal so they can write a few lines about their experience after the show.  The main Festival site is outdoors and shows do not get cancelled due to weather.

Every year we are left with a HUGE pile of lost and found items.  Obviously, these cannot be kept at LeBreton Flats. We take photos and post them on our Facebook page but please prevent this by asking families to do the following:

Label Everything!

  • Check with the families to see if they purchase name labels and label EVERYTHING. Backpacks, wallets, ballcaps, sweaters, lunch bags, water bottles, shoes, mitts, sunglasses, toys, school books – you name it, we’ve found it.  It should all be labelled. 
    • Masking tape wrapped around water bottles with the school name written on, in addition to the child’s name, would be very helpful. We end up with at least 50 water bottles in the Lost and Found after every Festival.
    • Anyone bringing a wallet should have a piece of paper with a name and phone number to call should it be lost.
    • As a minimum, we would suggest that the schools prepare simple labels with the school name on it and attach it to all backpacks. The small printable sheets of labels would work for this.  Put the labels on the INSIDE of the backpack somewhere.  They are likely to fall off on the outside and we do look inside for clues.

Be Responsible for your Belongings!

  • This is an important thing to reinforce with your students. Make sure they keep track of everything at all times.  The Ottawa Children’s Festival is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Visit the Box Office tent before you leave!

  • We keep our Lost and Found items in the Box Office tent. Before you leave the Festival site, please have the kids stop by and have a quick look, just in case they’ve dropped something and didn’t realize.  A quick perusal of leftover items before heading on the bus could save headaches later on!

 

What can we do after our visit?

Once you’ve completed your school field trip to the Ottawa Children’s Festival we would like to hear back from you.  We will do a post Festival survey, so please take the time to fill that out when the time comes, but we’d also love to hear from you.  Please email or phone to let us know how it went.  Did you find the Festival enjoyable?  Do you have any comments or suggestions?  We want to ensure your class enjoyed their experience.

Lastly, spread the word!  The Ottawa Children’s Festival is a not for profit charitable organization.  As we make every effort to keep our ticket prices as low as possible, we rely on donations, sponsors and vendors to help cover the costs associated with this type of large scale Festival.  There are many ways you can help the Festival:

  • Let your colleagues know that it’s an amazing, educational field trip
  • Let your friends know that it’s a great place to bring their kids or grandkids!
  • Print off our Festival poster and post it at work, at your local coffee shop, at your doctor’s office, anywhere they will let you
  • Let the families know that we are a not for profit organization and tell them how to contact us to arrange for a family visit or to make a donation.

 

Other Questions?

Other general questions can be found on our FAQ page.

And, please, do not hesitate to contact us:

Lovedyne Dumont

Educational and Community Outreach Coordinator

love@ottawachildrensfestival.ca

613-241-0999 X111