Last week I attended the Year 5 residential trip at the Kingswood Centre on the Isle of Wight. On day one, as we toured the Mary Rose museum in Southampton, I was approached by two members of the public who commented on how well behaved and engaged the pupils were. The workshop leaders were also in awe at the children’s knowledge and interest in the sessions in which they participated. I knew then that it was going to be a great week ahead!
Many residential trips run by schools focus only on extending the curriculum and all of the activities relate to the ‘academic’ subjects the pupils study in school. However, the range of activities at Kingswood give our pupils a good balance of extending their curriculum knowledge but also the opportunity to challenge and push themselves to the limit of their endurance, perseverance and determination, in a safe environment, and for many of them to conquer their fears.
I have to admit that on arrival at the centre, when I saw the timetable of activities for the week, I felt somewhat overwhelmed not only at how busy the children were going to be but also how physically and perhaps emotionally demanding it was going to be for them (let alone the staff)!
I am happy to report that I have so much admiration for all the Year 5 pupils who set themselves personal goals throughout the week, and through the support and encouragement from their instructors, peers and staff they achieved so much in five days. I must also add that this is true for staff too! The older one gets the more fearful one is… I decided to set my own personal goals and push myself out of my comfort zone; if the children can do it, so can we!
Mrs. Gilham, Miss Walker and I embraced the dizzy heights as we took on the same challenges as the children and I have to thank Mr. Lewis for being by my side on the 3G swing, distracting me as we took in the stunning sea views as we were hoisted higher and higher by the children and instructors.
Our pupils have a residential trip each year from Year 3 upwards. The one night residential in Year 3 is the first building block leading up to an overseas trip in Year 6 to France. Having been on school residential trips for many years both in UK locations and overseas, the benefits of these trip is numerous.
I draw your attention to an article from the Guardian, which is quite dated now but which sums up the benefits of residential trips.
Sadly many schools are not offering such a range of experiences to their pupils. I believe that it is crucial for us to give our children these opportunities. Not only do they build ‘curriculum’ knowledge in the outdoors but more importantly the ‘personal development’ of the children on such trips is overwhelmingly important.
I am currently reading ‘Option B’ by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (which I highly recommend) and although the book is a personal account of how Sheryl coped with adversity in her personal life, it also gives a strong message about resilience. We need to build resilience in our children for them to become strong individuals to face the challenges of life.
“We are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. It is a muscle that everyone can build’.
Through our programme of residential trips that muscle is strengthened; just another way in which St. Helen’s College is developing your children to strive for excellence and to fulfill their potential through guidance, encouragement and challenge.