Making play educational.

Managing school visits to role play centres

We all remember school trips and days out as kids; my favourite was a class trip overnight on an island sharing a hotel room with my friend, and it included a trip to a theme park!  I also remember climbing all over a steam locomotive at the theme park and every time I see a steam locomotive as an adult it brings back those happy childhood memories. In this blog, we look at school trips to role play venues and how to guarantee they make long-lasting memories (and run smoothly too). Here’s our top 5 tips, for teachers and those opening a children’s role play centre to run a memorable school trip at a role play village.

Always have a pre-visit

The most important thing, by far, when managing a school visit is have a member of staff visit beforehand. Wherever possible it should be the class teacher, or their teaching assistant. The pre-visit finds out everything needed to make things run smoothly, like where the coach can park and how to get to the entrance door (our free and easy parking is just metres from the door), and how accessible the building is for children with disabilities (Tots Town is all on the ground floor, fully wheelchair accessible and with an adapted toilet). On a personal level, as teachers walk around with a staff member, lots of little questions will be answered, along with exchanging ideas about the best ways to use the play town.

Be proactive about safety

Owners of role play venues should be completely on top of safety every day and be able to prove it. Role Play venues typically have multiple risk assessments but these are often too detailed for a school to use. Tots Town provides all school visits with a Risk Assessment summary that covers everything they need to understand and manage risks. At the venues we design, we make sure play areas are open plan with clear lines of sight across the little street and play town areas.

Be flexible with timings

Schools have lots to fit in during the day of the visit, from registration, travel, lunch, toilet breaks and travel back. In some cases, teachers may want their class to be back at school for lunch. Normal play session timings may need to be flexed just a little to accommodate a visit. At Tots Town, we like to to open the role play centre for a whole morning to allow schools to get the most out of their time at here without a rush, and potentially have multiple classes visit during the morning.

Extra adult helpers make play extra fun

Teachers are always encouraged to bring extra adult helpers with them. Tots Town produces a crib sheet for teachers to advise how these extra adults can help to enrich the learning of the children whilst they are exploring the little town/street. Briefing them on their jobs before they arrive at the play venue is a must (the coach journey is good for this).

Photo Etiquette – Do’s and Don’ts

Occasionally we see other play venues posting videos of their play sessions with people clearly identifiable in the background. Lets be clear here, unless consent is obtained from everyone in that picture, play venues should never be taking those images let along posting them online. At Tots Town, we never take pictures unless customers give us consent for every single image. We recognise that schools will take pictures (typically on ipads) to put on the children’s learning records. It’s good practice to find out whether they will be posted on the school’s social media and discuss whether they can be used on the play venue’s own feed or in teacher information packs.
Now you know our top tips to run a successful school visit. Remember, children can really take charge of their imaginations outside of the classroom by giving them just a few tools. Role play venues like Tots Town are often good value school trips and fit in so well with the Early Years Foundations Stage.
So, enquire about your school visit by clicking here! 

For more information about Tots Town itself and to learn more about our franchise packages please visit the website.

You can read more of our blogs at   and discover more about how we work with brilliant people to open and grow their own role play venues here.