*This is a collaborative post* When our kids are little, the idea of them going away for longer than a day without us is terrifying. We can’t bear the thought of them being away from home overnight, and even when they do start to stay out for a little longer, their grandparent’s house is usually as far as we can contemplate. This need to keep them close is entirely reasonable, and all parents want to keep their children close.
That’s why sending them to school is difficult. We miss them, but it’s more than that. We worry about how they will cope out in the world (even in the safety of their school’s walls) without us to watch over them. Will they know where the toilets are? Will they be able to sit still in class? Will other kids play with them? Will they eat enough with so much going on around them? That first year at school is filled with worries, but most of them make it through unscathed, as do we.
Then, in no time at all, the next big separation challenge looms — the extended school trip. The trip with an overnight stay, or you might call it the residential trip. By this point, you are probably used to going a day without them. You know that they can look after themselves at school, and even on day trips. But overnight? That’s an entirely different thing to get your head around. That’s why, whether you are a parent, or a teacher looking at how to organise a school trip, you need to understand why it’s so important to their development.
It’s a Chance to be Independent
Kids love being independent. Toddlers get proud when they can do their own shoes or get dressed. Young children love it when they can start getting breakfast ready, and older children feel fantastic if you let them pop to the shops on their own. This kind of learning is just as important as classroom education. It’s how we prepare them for the real world, and for adult life. They should be rewarded for small acts of independence and encouraged to take them forward.
But, at home, it can be tough. We cook and clean, and just do things out of habit. When they stay away with school, even with teachers to take care of them, they’ll feel more independent. They’ll feel like they are doing more for themselves, and they’ll love getting a little time away from their parents to see what they can do.
Being Away from Home Strengthens Friendships
Many kids today have home friends and school friends. We don’t all live close to school, and for the most part, your children might only see their school friends for a few hours a day, most of which is spent sitting in a classroom.
Going away on a school trip gives them time to spend uninterrupted with their friends. They’ll get to know each other better, they’ll have new shared experiences, and they’ll spend more time together doing different things. They’ll return home with firmer friendships that will last.
Time to Learn
School is great. Kids learn loads. But, it’s only a few hours a day, with many, many interruptions. Kids can get bored of sitting in classrooms, each lesson only lasts for about an hour and learning is limited. On a school trip, there’s simply more time, less distraction and a better chance to focus.
The Chance to Explore Different Ways of Learning
Some people are great at sitting in a classroom and listening. They make notes, they take it all in, and they learn a lot. But, not everyone is. While most schools today do explore different kinds of learning, there’s only so much that they can achieve in a classroom setting. Learning out there in the real world can be so much more effective. For example, there’s no better way to learn French, then spending a week in France, surrounded by French and French speakers. On a school trip, they’ll see things, they’ll have experiences, and they’ll learn from people that aren’t their teacher.
Being a child is tough. Pressures surround them, they take more tests than ever before, there’s always more to learn, and new responsibilities to take on. Mental health issues in childhood are on the rise. It’s important to remember that fun is an essential part of childhood. And there’ll be plenty of fun on a school trip.
A Confidence Boost
All of these things put together are a great confidence boost for young children. They enjoy being away from home and learning new things. They come home proud of everything that they have achieved, safe in the knowledge that they can live without you.
Time to Ignite Passion
How often do you ask your kid what they have done at school only to here “dunno” or “I can’t remember” even though they got home ten minutes ago? It’s normal, but it’s annoying. After a trip, they’ll be filled with stories and tales. They’ll talk about the adventures and the fun, but they’ll also tell you about what they’ve learned. For many kids, getting out there into the real world will ignite a passion for the subject at hadn’t in a way that learning in a classroom never could. Encourage this passion when they get home by continued learning and day trips of your own.
Do you remember some of your own school trips? Most of us have fond memories of our first overnight trips with school or visits to other countries. Some of our family holidays blur into one, but our school trips, they stand out. They were different. We spend time with different people. We tried different foods and activities, and for many of us, got our first real taste of life away from home. You might have experienced different cultures and ways of life through school trips, and over the years, you might have forgotten some of the educational learnings, but you won’t have forgotten the experiences.
*This is a collaborative post*