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Challenge-based trips for primary school-aged children: the benefits

05 February 2014

Friday 7th February is a very important day for ten of our Year 5 and 6 pupils (ages 9 to 11) and two of our Primary School staff: at 6.30 a.m. they will depart for Regents International School Pattaya for the school’s first ever Primary Round Square Week overseas service trip.

The trip is to Nepal, a country which is amongst the poorest on Earth. Far from this being a holiday, the service trip will see our young students interacting with up to 60 children at the remote and impoverished Sanjeevani Primary School near Nagarkot, approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from Kathmandu and at an altitude of 2000m.

Will this be a challenge for our pupils?  Of course it will.  Almost as soon as the plane journey is over the harsh reality of life in this developing country will be obvious to them as we depart from Tribhuvan airport through Kathmandu. How will our students feel when they see this for the first time?  How will they cope without electricity for 17 hours a day?  Will the stunning mountain scenery inspire a sense of awe and wonder?  Will they return home with a different perspective?  There’s only one way to find out…

The potential benefits of challenge-based trips like this are incalculable. Experiencing new cultures, having to push themselves outside of their own comfort zones, overcoming language barriers and working out how to interact without the aid of shared experiences and knowledge is a huge ask of any primary school-aged child, but I have no doubt that the next six days in the field will take our students on an incredible journey of personal growth.