After 6 months without school, children have embraced the opportunity to develop class relationships and practise teamwork and communication skills.
We spoke to Elisabeth at Brooklands Farm Primary School about their recent visit to Frontier Centre in September. The school would normally bring their Year 6s for a three-night residential, but due to Covid-19 the government will not allow residential stays.
As an alternative, we worked with the school to create two four-day trips for 120 Year 6 pupils. The staff and pupils travelled to and from the centre each day and enjoyed their usual programme of activities in line with Covid-19 safety procedures and risk assessment.
Did your day visits meet your expectations?
Once again, we have had the best time at the Frontier Centre! It has always been our favourite week of the teaching year and we were concerned about what the week would look like in a COVID world, however we have not been disappointed!
After continuous communication with the Frontier Centre, we have been able to work in partnership to create an amazing experience for the children, whilst abiding by all of the government guidelines. Instead of staying overnight, we have managed to create a four-day trip where we travelled the 45 minutes back and forth from school each day. This has run smoothly and we have still been able to carry out the full outdoor timetable.
What was the structure and programme of activities?
We arrived at the centre each day around 8.45am for a breakfast snack. The children were put into groups of eight with one dedicated instructor per group. Instructed activities included canoeing, archery, mountain biking, orienteering, bushcraft, climbing and much more. We also had some self-supervised activities such as football, rounders and a walk around Stanwick Lakes. The children enjoyed a cooked meal at lunchtime and dinner before departing each day at 6.30pm.
Did your pupils and staff feel safe at the centre?
The staff accommodated all of our needs and went above and beyond to ensure our trip was safe and enjoyable. They checked in with us throughout the day to ensure the cleaning, routines and activities were of the highest standards and to make any adjustments that we needed. The instructors have modelled social distancing and good hygiene practices throughout all of the activities. They continually encourage the children to try new things, develop their resilience and to grow their skills.
“Staff at Rock UK ensured they kept their distance reminding children where needed to step back. They wore their face coverings the majority of the time and always when within 2 metres of children or staff. The instructors ensured regular hand sanitising was happening.” Teacher
With school closures, it has been a challenging year for pupils. Did the trip support your Recovery Curriculum?
After 6 months without school, children have embraced the opportunity to develop class relationships and practise teamwork and communication skills. Staff have found the time at the Centre to be a great opportunity to promote and teach the Recovery Curriculum after children have had so much time in isolation. Our initial focus is on a range of more pastoral and enriching developmental activities, rather than solely academic achievement, as this is central to our recovery curriculum.
How did parents feel about the trip at this current time?
Parents have been extremely supportive and positive about the visit and have expressed how great it is to see children coming home each evening with such a high wellbeing.
“She has conquered fears, her self-confidence has grown significantly, it’s sparked an interest in outdoor activities and she’s so proud of her achievements.” Parent
What skills did your pupils learn or improve?
“I won’t give up when faced with a challenge. If I want to give up, I remind myself anything is possible.” Pupil
“No longer afraid of heights, grown my fear of heights and controlling my reaction to fearful situations, grown new skill of canoeing, archery skills, pushing myself more, grown trust with equipment at heights, grown friendships with others, grown teamwork and listening skills.” Pupil
“Relationships with the children. Children seeing teachers in a different and more relaxed environment. Children seeing the teachers facing fears/challenges.” Teacher
“Children overcoming challenges and growing their belief in themselves.” Teacher
How will they use these new skills when they are back in the classroom?
“Be more open to working as a team, feeling more confident to answer questions in lessons, feel more confident to use my voice and believe in myself. Use the strength I have found to keep pushing myself in my learning.” Pupil
I believe the teacher/ pupil relationships have grown and this is crucial for children to access the curriculum and have a high wellbeing. Relationships between children who went are stronger. Confidence in those children has already started to shine through within classroom setting. They feel more comfortable with their teacher to open up and share answers. We refer back to the activities and having open mindset during all lessons, looking at how children felt about the challenge and how they pushed themselves.” Teacher
Class relationships, communication and teamwork are more important than ever in this current climate and we thank the Frontier Centre for supporting us at this difficult time. We have loved every minute!”
Thank you Brooklands Farm Primary, we loved having you at the centre and we look forward to welcoming you again soon.