This trip was all about the children being on a journey of self-discovery; staff took them away from the comfort zone of families and school and encouraged them to challenge themselves through a variety of physical and social activities. And what a time they had!
The scariest and undoubtedly the most popular activity was the infamous ‘leap of faith’. After climbing high above the ground on a narrow pole, the children then jump through the air to catch a swing – all are suitable roped up for safety purposes please be assured. What impressed me this year was that some children were able to do this blindfolded AND catch the swing. I heard that, as well as the successful ones who should be congratulated, a few children froze and were upset. However, through concentration and determination they overcame their fears thanks to the encouragement of their team mates. The other children described them as being the bravest - they demonstrated real courage. All the children came back to school buzzing with their individual successes whatever they were.
Our groups were selected so that children are able to mix with those they were less familiar with, and the children told me what a positive experience that was. The organic farming was also rated highly by the children for the opportunity to work together, chat and make new friends. It was a real team building experience.
Residentials give us an opportunity to see the children in a new light. Away from the demands of the school day new leaders develop, shy children become more confident and future ‘comedians’ emerge. I heard that the ‘skits’ that they worked together to perform were particularly entertaining. And the children grow in the important personal attributes such as confidence, independence, resilience, determination and most importantly courage that are fundamental to future success. Residentials are such an important opportunity for all, but in particular for those children who can often be over-protected in their busy, organised lives.
Thanks go to Angus, Julius, Louis, Cherish and Fatima for sharing their thoughts with me about the trip; they summed it up with one word – ‘PERFECT!’
Eleanor Jess, Head of Primary