Knowing that most school residential trips take are planned a year in advance let me take this opportunity close to the start of the new school year to let you know about a few trips that your Outdoor Learning Service was involved in over the past year. Some thoughts for your next school trip…
Cost? Educational – how are the pupils involved in the planning and running of the trip. What educational aims and objectives are set for the trip. Preparation by pupils. What happens at the end of the trip? Any follow up work. Anything that can be taken from the trip to use in the classroom? How are the staff and parents from the school deployed – there are lots of great adults out there only too willing to help.
North Berwick High activity week
What better way for staff and pupils to gain respect for one another than to undergo together an adventurous week. This week was organised and staffed almost entirely by staff from the school. It utilised skills and qualifications amassed by a wide variety of school staff (including the Head). This meant that the pupils were able to spend a week at Rothiemurchas and have full days of activity including Mountain Biking in Rothie Forest; Canoeing on the Spey; Walking in the Cairngorms; Gorge Walking. The catering also employed the expertise of school staff. The whole trip meant that the pupils were able to witness the organisation required first hand and be involved in the catering; cleaning; transport; route planning; equipment maintenance etc. A complete education.
A fantastic model of a school camp for a small school. Elphinstone once again employed the services of the Outdoor Learning Service and the Ranger Service – both able to provide free time in the pursuit of high quality education. The pupils’ week consisted of orienteering; Stand Up Paddleboard journey; Coasteering; Kayaking (all within our very own beautiful East Lothian). The pupils camped out overnight in Hammocks and cooked their own supper over an open fire. After travelling down to the Borders – Peebles the pupils camped – more conventionally in tents and did some quality problem solving and team tasks and archery. Toward the end of the week the group undertook a whole day canoe trip down the Tweed from Cordrona to Innerleithen. Staff from the school accompanied the children at every point and the children were fully engaged in the whole process from planning of the trip through to successful execution.
Prestonpans Infant School
How young is too young for a residential experience? For Prestonpans Infants age is no barrier. Pupils as young as P3 (6 years old) spent a night out at Innerwick Residential Centre. The pupils were taken to Innerwick 16 at a time over 4 evenings for a one evening expedition. A Woodland discovery day – including hammocks; tipis; camouflage; woodland games. Evening walk at Cove through the the tunnel and down to the seashore for an evening explore of a coastal environment – led entirely by school staff. Lots of help for this (for many) first overnight experience was given by parents from the Infant School.
Please get in touch with your Outdoor Learning Service for advice and guidance on running a school residential experience – and remember to ask around staff and parents – there may be a lot of hidden talent and enthusiasm lurking within!