More than a decade ago I took the decision to create an expedition for Year 6 which was more than just the usual school trip full of fun activities. At RSM we had run such ‘fun’ trips since before I joined the school, but they were rather like an activities holiday with your friends as opposed to being a deep educational experience. Nothing wrong with this in itself and certainly enjoyable as an end of year experience, but I wanted something more for our young leaders.
What I wanted to achieve was an opportunity for the children to think about the deeper questions in life regarding their own happiness, mental health and success, in an environment that was awe inspiring. To have them ask what it means to be an effective member of a team and very importantly, what their role is and looking after the natural environment on which we all depend.
On these trips the children do enjoy activities which they wouldn’t normally do, taking them outside of their comfort zones and demanding that they draw on their inner resources. This aspect is beneficial because, as we all know, life is rarely easy so this is an important part of their learning, understanding that sometimes you have to dig deep and push through the pain barrier to achieve impressive things.
Even more importantly we like them to develop team working skills and to think of everyone in their group, not just their closest friends. Again, this is so important for life as they will all be part of a number of different teams, in different places and in different organisations throughout their lives.
When it comes to the environment, everyone is now far more aware than they were just a few years ago of the importance of tackling problems such as climate change, freshwater depletion and pollution from plastics. Seeing the children engaging in these conversations, thinking about their role and making pledges to live lives that help to heal rather than damage the planet, are all part of the journey we go on for that week away.
Finally, these are our young leaders and we see Year 6 grow and mature in their thinking and in their confidence whilst away, ready to come back and take on their leadership roles with assurance and enthusiasm.
This was another brilliant trip and the current Year 6 are a wonderful year group. I am looking forward to having them work with the teaching and support staff to make RSM the best school that it can be this year.