Play away days

12th October 2007 at 01:00

Trips outside school help pupils learn more about themselves, each other and the world around them, says Claire Bryant

A school residential trip is an exciting time for a child: it can bring learning to life and contribute to both personal and social development. We value school trips as it is important for children to have a wide range of educational experiences and to broaden their horizons.

Recently, our Year 3 and 4 children visited the Celtic Harmony camp in Hertfordshire to experience an exciting educational day full of hands-on activities in an Iron Age farmstead.

The older children went to Knebworth House in Hertfordshire for a Tudor treasure trail that involved a range of individual hands-on activities combined with cross-curricular problem-solving tasks to complete as a team. The morning's activities took place in the house and the afternoon was spent following clues hidden in the garden to solve a puzzle.

After Sats week, Year 6 children headed to Kingswood's Overstrand activity centre in Norfolk. For many of the children this was their first time away from home and this was an ideal opportunity to develop independence and self reliance in a safe and secure environment.

It gave us the chance to see the children in a new light. Every morning the children woke up excited about the activities ahead. We took part in the discovery programme, which is specifically designed for key stage 2 children and focused on helping the children learn more about themselves, each other and the world around them. They went rock climbing, abseiling, pond dipping and quad-biking, and visited a local river to carry out a geography inquiry. At the end of their stay they made a multimedia presentation, which was then used back in the classroom.

Developing teamwork was a theme for the week. Through stimulating and challenging team-building activities, children gained confidence and self awareness, while developing leadership techniques and learning how to get the best from each other.

At the end of their stay all the children had a sense of personal and group achievement.

The place that had been their home for a few days had provided them with happy memories.

Claire Bryant is deputy head of Springmead Primary School in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

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