In just under three weeks from now, many of the Year 6 students will be traveling to the NAE Global Games, hosted by Windermere Prep School in Orlando, Florida. During the five-day multi-sport event, the children will get to compete in a range of both familiar and unfamiliar activities. Soccer, sand volleyball, archery and flag football are all on the agenda, supplemented by a healthy dose of evening entertainment at venues such as Disney World and Universal Studios.
While this all sounds like a lot of fun, and it is… it would be easy to overlook the lessons each child will have to learn, as well as the challenges they will face.
A residential trip with school is a rite of passage for so many children who have never been away from their parents before. From getting themselves ready in the morning, to packing the equipment they need, each child must adapt and learn to be independent. But the Global Games provides more than just this; it introduces them to a situation where they are not insulated by the bubble of their classmates and teachers. Over the five days, our students will find themselves sharing the experience with 1300 other students from all over the Americas: competing against each other; working together; and learning from one another.
So, how do you prepare your child for such a trip?
First of all it’s important to talk through the logistics of the trip with your child. What will they need to remember each day? How are they being dropped-off/picked up? You won’t know the minutiae of the daily schedule, but you will be able to help them visualize the days ahead.
Secondly, acknowledge any doubts or fears they may have. Even the most outgoing, confident child will have some questions or concerns about being away. Let them know that it’s ok to feel that way and then talk through what they could do in those situations. Sharing your own memories of staying away can also reassure them.
Thirdly, and especially for the more anxious travelers, stay positive. Remind them of the fun and exciting experiences they will have. Having a positive attitude will help children be resilient, if and when they need to.
Lastly, please do not hesitate to speak to your child’s teachers if you have any questions or concerns. They can help both you and your child better understand the experience and will be able to offer practical advice and support.
We wish all our Year 6 students a fantastic week and look forward to sharing with you their triumphs and successes when they return.
-Caroline Gordon, PE & Health Teacher & International Primary Curriculum Leader