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Learning away from school

Posted on: 22 May 2019 by Weston Green School

I am hoping many of you will have seen the photos from our Year 5 & 6 pupils and staff who have been away on their residential visit to UKSA on the Isle of Wight, this week. This is the most fabulous of adventures, a week of water-based activities and the excitement and challenge this involves, as well as living away from home for a week.

It is often said that children grow enormously from these experiences, and they do, but it is much more than that. These visits are memory-creating and character-building times, which we know will stay with the children as a reminder of their school days.

As Martin Hewitt wrote in The Guardian earlier this academic year:

“As our society becomes increasingly risk-averse and litigious, we are in danger of suffocating our children in rules, regulations and cotton wool. Life is full of challenges and we owe it to our children to equip them with the skills to recognise risks, assess them sensibly and react positively.”

The children will most certainly have been challenged this week, trying activities for the first time, taking responsibility for their own and others' safety, ensuring they contribute effectively to their team as well as building independence in looking after themselves and their belongings for the week.

Without exception they will rise to these; they will return more confident to try new things, to step beyond what's comfortable and to shine in ways we perhaps don't see in school.

Friendships will be strengthened and also built; through these experiences, children can appreciate others in a new way, see familiar people in a new light. They may recognise that the reflective child is actually a fantastic problem solver; that those who seem outwardly confident also have their vulnerabilities, or gain a new respect for one of their classmates as they see them grow and excel at new activities. Improved confidence and self-esteem will often improve relationships and performance back at school.

So much of what our children have experienced this week supports our belief that the characteristics of learning, those positive attitudes and attributes for life are at the core of successful achievement and wellbeing. Our Learner Profiles which focus on team skills, independence, creativity, resilience, risk-taking and reflection, set our children up for life and to get the most from times such as these. These are life-changing, positive experiences and wonderful opportunities to learn.

If you wish to see what our children have been up to on their residential, please visit our Facebook page.

Mrs. Evans

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