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Activities Week is Learning Beyond the Classroom

13 June 2014

Activities week is the showcase of our exciting experiences for the year in secondary. The week encompasses all the good things that we stand for across the school.

Our Year 12s are literally leading the way with the CAS trip to Cambodia leaving today. This mixture of foreign travel and community service is a hands-on experience improving a community that develops the students’ global awareness and makes them pro-active in changing the world for the better. They will also bring sets of sporting goods to donate to a local school and this therefore shows the generosity of the whole of the BISS Puxi community and the joy of giving (especially to those that have most need).

Taking students out of their comfort zones is definitely a theme for all children next week. This will especially be true for our Year 10s on work experience in unfamiliar environments for unexpectedly long periods of time and our Year 8s who will find out about the cultural and geographical diversity of Mongolia. Trekking in Mongolia and living in yurts will open their eyes to the wonders of the Mongolian landscape, the physical challenge of hiking and the new experience of seeping in unfamiliar surroundings.

Our Year 7s will have a slightly more familiar point of reference when they stay by the sea in Twin Moon Bay in Southern China. The expectation for this trip is that students spend an elongated stay away from home which is a challenge for some and a pleasure for others. This trip is a great chance to build on team working skills as well as trying out new experiences such as camping on the beach, individual challenges such as surfing and learning about turtle conservation.

There will be plenty of learning experiences on the Year 9 trip that combines history with adventure. A trip to Vietnam is rich in associations with the Vietnam War and challenges to old European Imperial rulers. Our students will visit the Iconic cities and sites in Ho Chi Minh and the Cu Chi Tunnel complex dug by locals in their wars against the French and Americans. Alongside the history there are visits to wild animal conservation and protection areas, night treks, cave systems and various physical activities from rock climbing to kayaking.

As you can see, thought and care has gone into the progression of the trips from Year 7 to Year 12 so that there is a good mix.  As your child moves up through the school they will have a completely different experience each year.

We do encourage you to enter into the spirit next week while your children are away and to foster their independence by seeing see how long you can go without speaking to them, however please discuss this in advance. It could be no contact for a few days, although for some parents and students it is easy to manage the whole week.

Try to also encourage your children to be less reliant on electronic devices and see if they will travel without multiple pieces of electronic equipment. A camera (which can be a useful learning tool when used to take thought out shots rather than selfies!) and a mobile phone should be sufficient. We will encourage students not to play electronic games but to actually talk to each other or be creative in the way they spend their travelling time.

Every waking minute of your child’s trip is an opportunity to be doing something interesting and useful and therefore Activities Week is about so much more than just activities. It is teaching your child many valuable skills and behaviours in a way that should be positive and memorable.

If you want to follow what is happening without speaking to your child there will be nightly updates placed on the school blog as well as updates on our social channels Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I am sure the next few days will lead to us hearing about many happy stories about what the students have learned about themselves, their peers and the world around them. I hope everyone has a great week away and for parents a relaxing more peaceful time at home.