School excursions, camps and incursions are an important stepping-stone for children to stretch their wings and explore and learn beyond their home, school and neighborhood.
The ‘right’ activity can bring the shy child out of their shell, encourage the reluctant child to try something new, and inspire the confident child to reach even higher.
School excursions can literally change a child’s world for the better.
There are some kids who find the academic demands of school very difficult, and who socially are very quiet. But once you get them out of the classroom, they just shine!
It may be that camping or the school activity you’ve organised is something they’ve done before and feel confident in. Or, it could be that they have skills that aren’t normally revealed in the classroom. Either way, it’s great to see kids expand and shine.
When a child ‘shines’, they earn new respect among their peers and teachers. It can be very significant for their self-esteem.
Depending on the camp situation, and the age of the students, the out-of- school situation may reveal other traits unrelated to athletic or academic talents, but important in ‘life skills’.One of them is leadership. Not every child is a natural leader, but there are different ways kids can lead within a group, such as volunteering or taking the lead in a group challenge. Students might never have the courage to take on a leadership role within the school setting, but outside that environment can find a way to show their skills and become highly valued by their peers.
For younger kids, school camps are about sharing time with their friends. It’s an important part of their development as they leave their parents and families or the safety net of a sleepover – often for the first time. For older kids, camp is more about learning skills such as co-operation and working together as a group. As a teacher, you learn a lot about your students – you see who’s willing to help and who expects everything to be done for them.
School trips and camps allow students to stretch their wings in a safe and nurturing environment. In turn, this can help motivate them in their sporting, performing arts and academic achievements. For example, a rousing end of camp concert performance might inspire a child to pursue drama; while a successful nature activity might inspire kids to develop a love of science.
The relaxed and informal atmosphere of school camp is an ideal environment for looking at the bigger picture of student behaviour, and helping kids to develop improved social skills and emotional intelligence. The key is to help children understand their behaviour and emotions – and their effect on others.
Teachers and caregivers can help students understand and acknowledge the reasons behind negative behaviours and work with them to develop more socially acceptable ways to interact.
School camps are an important stepping-stone for children to develop resilience as they experience life beyond their home, school and neighborhood.
Sharing a dorm with someone outside your normal social group at school; taking part in an activity you’ve never tried before; or being paired with a new group for an activity can help students learn to be flexible and adaptable.
The number of students travelling to overseas destinations on school excursions has risen significantly in recent years. The growth is fuelled by the knowledge that participation in overseas excursions enables students – and their educators – to develop knowledge, behaviours and skills that allow them to become more informed and responsible global citizens.
The benefits of overseas travel and international excursions are well documented: it gives students greater knowledge and interest in global issues and cultures, allowing them to move beyond stereotypical views and attitudes; it opens their eyes and senses to the wider world; increases their proficiency in the use of another language; and gives them a deeper understanding of their own culture.
Today’s teachers are front line warriors in the fight to save the environment. It is from them that many students first learn about global warming, endangered species and how the relentless global push for increased production impacts on urban and natural environments around the world.
School excursions, school camps and school incursions provide an ideal outdoor classroom setting for students to learn more about reducing their carbon footprint – and put in action the environmental issues they have learnt in the classroom, in a fun and interactive way.
The unique biodiversity of the surrounding physical environment can also help students learn about healthy environmental habitats, how all things are connected within an ecosystem, and the impact of human beings in maintaining a healthy environmental balance.
School excursions, school camps and school incursions can be fertile ground for exploring and developing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) skills.
Look above at night and you might spot the ‘Saucepan’ constellation. Listen closely and you could hear a kookaburra laughing. Crush a handful of pine needles and inhale the fresh scent. Sit around a campfire and watch the crackle of embers. Nature provides the perfect ‘outdoor laboratory.’
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and civilisation are a critical element of the story of Australia – and with a history dating back at least 65,000 years, it is a rich and diverse culture.
The earliest Aboriginal societies established complex religions, engaged in long-distance trade, produced magnificent, developed sustainable ways of living, undertook significant engineering feats and created one of the most unique ‘civilisations’ in the world.
Learning about indigenous history and culture encourages students to develop respect for diversity, empathy, engagement and an understanding of cultural difference.
School camps can be unbelievably fun – and provide positive lifelong memories for students. If you ask most people, they’ll remember some aspects of their school camps. But chances are, they won’t remember who taught them long division!