I recently got into conversation on Twitter with a number of fellow 'Tweeters' about the benefits of taking children away for residentials. As with many such discussions, it wasn't planned - someone started the thread and others added their thoughts. The end result, however, informed continuing debate and discussion about what we do in school and why we do it - and how it benefits the children.
The talking point on this occasion was an article from 'The Guardian' of 22nd April. Entitled, "What I'm really thinking about|The school trip teacher". It's fair to say that I read through it with a mixture of bemusement and wonder...this poor person clearly didn't enjoy taking children away for school trips and had been heavily leaned on to do so!
The headmaster that had shared the original article posited that the vast majority of teachers really enjoy school trips. I believe that's true. They're a lot of work in the planning and organisation, but we're glad to organise them each year because we see how much your children gain during their time away. Ask any of our Prep 6 or alumni about their memories of Edenhurst and without exception, the trips to France, Spain, Kingswood, Condover Hall and Hesley Wood will feature strongly in their list.
A lot of personal growth takes place during the time away. For some children, this is the first time they have been outside of the UK - on more than one occasion the first time that a child has used a passport, and it is an honour that the first trip that they take is with school. They rise to challenges and feel more confident about trying food or activities that would usually be out of their comfort zone. They have to take care of their possessions and ensure that they are ready for activities by a given time (albeit with a watchful eye over them!) It also gives them an opportunity to shine in different ways from those in school. Friendships are strengthened and also built: one of the great points about these experiences, for me, is seeing children appreciate each other in a new way - recognising that the reflective child is actually a fantastic problem solver; or gaining a new respect for one of their classmates as they see them grow and excel at new activities.
For those of you reading this whose children have not yet had the opportunity to go away with school or any other organisation, I cannot recommend it enough. My own first trip away was to Cub Camp at eight years old and I value the sense of independence, willingness to try new experiences and go to new places that I gained from these formative adventures. As Edenhurst seeks to develop the whole child and NURTURE their growth, we see residential experiences as a valuable means of developing them.
Please follow our tweets, Facebook posts and blogs from France during the next week, and enjoy our photographs. These will give you an idea of how much the children really do gain from a residential experience.