Residential Visits… Yes or No

It would be fair to say I am tired and in need of a bit of a rest.  So are three staff from our team here too, they are shattered.  I have watched them work with the children for the past week and I made a number of observations that have made me put fingers to keyboard.

We attended Kingswood Peak Venture, which is a residential centre for outdoor adventurous activity.  The activities include zip wire from a fifty foot tower, leap of faith, which involves leaping and trying to grab a trapeze bar, 3g swing, which is best described as managed terror and climbing etc.  The list is endless, well it isn’t as there are about 70 sessions crammed into one week.

The first point of note is that we depart for Kingswood on a Sunday at 2-30pm.  The 3 staff meet the children at school and I follow them up in my car.  We do this to deal with any issues that may arise where we may need transport.  When we got there it was straight into the dorms to sort beds, cover health and safety and carry out the fire drill.

We blogged from the centre to keep parents informed about what we were doing and placed lots of pictures on our blogs.  The parents respond well to this and we get lots of comments.  The staff tend to do the blogs after children have gone to bed.  This was done each night and meant that the parents could keep right up to date with what the children were doing.

seeing the children work hard and grow in confidence during the week was rewarding for the staff that went on the visit.  It is worth pointing out that the staff who were at home took the time to comment on the blogs too.  The children enjoy the feedback and it gave us areal sense of sharing what we do.

Mr Scott is terrified of heights and yet he chose to go down the zip wire because he felt it was important to show the children he was challenging himself as much as they were.  The children responded well to this and praised him for being a great role model.  The mutual respect between the children and Mr Scott was and is bigger than ever.

You can look at some of the things we did here  The children gained so much out of this visit that there would not be enough time or space to write it here.  The self-esteem and self belief grew in each child all week.  The children who started of the week feeling homesick did really well and had an amazing time.

These experiences are the ones that will stay with the children for always and are the bedrock for times in their futures when they face challenges that seem difficult.  It is experiences such as this visit that will ensure children have the resolve to face any challenge at all.

Staff that give their time to go on these visits get little recognition but they can be safe in the knowledge that they are helping change lives.  These visits for me represent the greatest times in our school lives.

Outdoors and Outcomes

We are currently part way through a visit to Hathersage.  The children have had lots of fun and learned many new skills.  Today map reading was a big hit and the stream study got lots of us very excited.  The children are motivated and they are keen to get involved in everything we ask them to do.  Their effort is amazing and I can say this is perhaps the greatest group we have ever brought on a visit.  I want to sum up what visits can do in one picture so I have added the one that I think says it all.  Enough said….