Back in September, myself, two other class teachers and around fifty Year 3 and Year 4 pupils were lucky enough to go on a three-day residential trip. The focus of the trip was on nature and in that respect, it was very back to basics. There were tents, campfires, a camp kitchen, everything you could possibly need for a three-day trip.
I offered to write this blog on why residential trips are such a fantastic experience even before we had actually gone on it. The thought might have been a bit premature but after the trip I am even more convinced of the positives than I was before.
This is my second year teaching and although I had previously been on a residential trip during my teacher training, it was great to experience one again, this time with a class of my own. Residential trips give an unrivalled opportunity both for school staff to get to know the children and vice versa. I had naively believed prior to the trip that it was only teenagers and adults who aren’t morning people but I was mistaken! I can imagine that a residential trip at the end of the year is a great way to celebrate and cement memories of the academic year but the benefit of doing one at the start of the year is undoubtedly this chance to build these important relationships.
On to my second point…
The children got the chance to learn how to start a fire, first aid, shelter building, knife skills, knot making and I could go on. They also got the chance to learn many incredibly catchy campfire songs. * This exposure to new and useful skills and experiences is something we really value at Coppice Valley. Check out our Coppice 50 if you don’t believe me. Through these experiences children’s broad interests really start to come out. Children who are perhaps less engaged in the classroom find things that really capture their imagination and interest. Likewise, you can see different aspects of their personalities. Children who perhaps might be quieter in class discover new found confidence.
The last thing I wanted to touch on is independence. Year 3 (7-8 years old) is the youngest age group we take on residential trips out of school. By taking them, we are expecting them to be more independent than at any point in their life up to then. Considering what a turbulent couple of years these children have endured it was a big, but at the same time, important step in rebuilding their self-esteem and socialisation skills. Building resilience and independence is key to becoming a successful learner and in a broader sense I suppose, becoming a member of society.
To conclude, as much as I like to think in ten years’ time the children in my class will remember our great maths lesson or interesting history lesson I’m much more confident that they will have lasting memories of our September residential trip and in all honesty I probably will too!
* Three months later and said songs have only just escaped my head. In all honesty though I’m not sure if that’s due to the length in time or the approach to Christmas and the prevalence around school of Carol of the Bells. On that note I would like to say a special thank you to Mrs Leach and Miss Hawkins for picking such an easy to learn Christmas song. I can honestly say I’d never heard notes so high come out of mouths before.