It’s the day before we go and I’m working my way down the list of items to make sure I’ve packed. Despite having done this for more years than I care to remember, the same questions always seem to come up...
- Will I need this? [Probably not]
- Will I have time to read this? [Er…no]
- How many T-shirts/pairs of shorts etc will I need [Less than you think…the same as always!]
One thing that a few years of doing this doesn’t do is lessen the enthusiasm for it. I still enjoy these trips as much as the children do, having been away for the first time as an eight-year-old in Derbyshire. The opportunities to spend time in another country, to go away as a school group, to do activities together outside of the classroom environment…these are as much a part of education - and help children to grow and develop in different ways - as learning a musical instrument; developing new skills on a computer; carrying out an investigation in Science; or learning how to conjugate a verb into its different forms. The jigsaw of education has many different pieces and we are often guilty of seeing the value of some pieces more than others.
Experiences such as this really help children to mature personally. They become more responsible for themselves and their possessions. They begin to become more self-reliant. They have opportunities to try new and different experiences, whether it is food, sports or activities. They begin to appreciate that items don’t just appear in a book - what can compare with actually seeing the Bayeux Tapestry, rather than simply reading about it; or visiting some of the beaches where fighting took place during the Second World War and seeing one of the War Graves cemeteries?
As you and your child, like me, put the last few items into our bags today, please reflect that you will be getting a different person back from the one that you send. To those reading this who have older children and have seen this before, perhaps you’ll be smiling and nodding knowingly at this point. To those of you who are stepping ‘out into the unknown’ at this point: it marks another important step in their development and their continued preparation for experiences at senior school. We have a few children for whom, similar to last year, this will be their first trip overseas - what a wonderful first experience!
If you speak to children who’ve left Edenhurst, they’ll tell you that residential trips such as this are among their strongest and happiest memories of their time here - but also gave them the confidence to go on bigger and longer trips with their senior schools. That only happens after taking this first step: being NURTURED in the prep school environment ready to go on and ACHIEVE greater things thanks to a strong foundation.
See you in the morning!