The impact of the pandemic and loss of school trips on children has been far-reaching and well documented. As parents and educators we have spent two years battling seemingly insurmountable challenges around learning loss, mental health and the ever-widening divide in educational attainment between those lucky enough to have the resources to continue learning through lockdown, and those without.
School leaders have by necessity had to shift focus overnight to developing brand new online learning programmes, grappling with new technology, managing crippling staff and student absences and the subsequent learning loss, and devising and enforcing complicated one-way systems and ventilation solutions. Traditionally a place of reassuring consistency and reliability, school post-Covid for millions of young people breeds anxiety and uncertainty.
Getting back to normal – and not just a new normal
Two years on we are finally moving back to a place of normality. Planning to travel, to see loved ones and to attend events. We know full well the annual holiday that may previously have felt like a luxury after two years spent in and out of lockdown now feels like a necessity. Similarly for our students the school trips traditionally considered extracurricular are now imperative for the improvement of their education, personal development and mental health.
These are just a few of the reasons why school trips are more important now than ever…
- Create balance – with so much pressure on our children around catching up, uncertainty over exams and the constant assessments to measure and record academic progress, we need to ensure we’re balancing this with an opportunity for students to unwind, to engage their bodies not just their minds, and to balance academic learning with social and developmental learning.
- Social skills development – it goes without saying that after long periods of isolation children are well overdue the opportunity to develop their social skills. On a school residential pupils learn a new way of socialising with their peers and teachers, but also benefit from the opportunity to meet new people and manage new and emerging friendships and relationships.
- Personal development – outside of the confines of the classroom and the academic timetable school trips provide an important opportunity for personal development. Trip leaders provide new, positive role models and mentors, and a new environment outside their home and classroom, with a new timetable and routine, brings with it a fresh perspective, the opportunity to try new things and to see things in a fresh new light.
- Get muddy – After years of hand sanitising and antibacterial wiping, it’s time our kids remembered the all-important benefits of getting muddy! The exhilaration that comes with an afternoon spent exploring, climbing and foraging is unparalleled – sometimes getting dirty is just as important as getting clean!
- Building resilience and confidence – in a time of uncertainty our children have had to learn to hold back, be cautious, stay in when they may have wanted to go out. So it’s important now for us to help them build their confidence and resilience, and residential trips in particular are the ideal way to teach children independence, perseverance and to help them learn the excitement of being outside of their comfort zone.
- Building relationships with peers and teachers – school trips provide an important opportunity to build relationships with peers and teachers and to work as a team outside of the structured classroom environment. The relationships developed on a school trip can make an incredibly positive impact in the classroom.
- Spending time away from home – after long periods of being told to stay at home, it’s time for our children to learn to be without us, albeit for short periods of time, for their own self development and discovery. What better way to do this than a few nights away learning new skills, making new friends and having fun!
Tips to help you choose the right school trips
Choosing the right school trips, the perfect itinerary and the best location for your students can be a challenge with so many boxes to tick. Here are some tips to help you narrow down the options to find the right adventure for your students.
- Day trip or residential? The first thing to decide is the duration of your trip. While this is often decided by the age of your pupils and/or your budget, it’s always worth exploring the option of staying overnight even if your intention is to book a day trip. Often the additional cost of an overnight stay is minimal, and the benefit to students of the sleeping away from home experience and an additional day of activities is significant and far-reaching.
- Location location location? The quandary of a school trip destination often boils down to your priorities. Are you planning this trip for our students to experience a particular destination or culture? In which case longer travel time and higher costs could be justifiable. Or are you looking for a trip on which the focus is the experience itself and the activities students will be participating in? In which case you have the flexibility of exploring options that offer these experiences closer to home to save on cost and travel time, and help you maximise the time away for your students.
- The adventure – choosing the right itinerary for your all-important school trip is key, and you will have your own priorities. These are our top tips for what we feel makes the ideal school trip:
- Educational is important – fun is vital!
- The opportunity to try new experiences
- Plenty of downtime in between activities
- Fresh, healthy, tasty meals and plenty of snacks
- Back to basics – new is great but there’s also something pretty magical about remembering the joy of foraging in the woods or telling stories around a campfire.
- If you’ve opted for a residential then you want to build in an opportunity to bring students together each evening for activities that help them to reflect on their day
- A great team – as with everything in life people make the experience, and a memorable, life-changing school trip will be led by a great team of people who understand how to lead but also how to connect with your pupils.
Why Wildchild Adventure is the right choice for your next school trip
At Wildchild Adventure our outdoor adventure residentials offer a range of adrenalin-fuelled and bushcraft activities to help children get active, learn new skills and develop their independence, resilience and love of the outdoors. Our dedicated, experienced and adventure-loving team work with every group to create an itinerary that suits your requirements and your budget. So when you’re ready to offer your students that long-awaited opportunity to get back outdoors, have fun and try new adventures – get in touch!
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