The ski trip was an amazing success. It really is a fantastic opportunity for the children and they develop so many different skills. In today’s electronic world, it is great to get children outdoors learning something new: skills they learn now will stay with them for life. They also develop their independence, having to be in the right place at the right time, (and with all their skiing gear and equipment), which is something that at home the children may well have an adult organising for them.
In order to make maximum progress, there is also the need to concentrate fully on the instructor (someone they haven’t met before) and ensure they understand both the French accent and the skiing terminology and technicalities! One of our teacher roles is to help with this but the children also need to take responsibility in this area.
We go to Le Corbier (part of Les Sybelles) in France. The trip is set up so all of the children can succeed both skiing wise and also in developing their social skills. For the first time in several years the party comprised only of children from Brabyns. 20 children from Years 3-6 made the trip along with myself, Mrs Munro and Coach John Sunderland (who has taught the children rugby this year along with coming to ski club). We had three Year 3 children who did fantastically well both on the slopes and from being away from home. There were then two Year 4 children, seven Year 5s and eight Year 6s.
The achievements of the children were fantastic, both on and off the slope. We had the beginners on a Chair Lift on the first day - the lessons beforehand back at the Chill Factore certainly ensured this could happen! -and most of the children tackled (and succeeded at) the black slope. Other skiing highlights included night skiing (we led the whole resort down the slope), going over the jumps in the jump park, lots of off-piste skiing as well as skiing on the slalom race piste.
Off the slope the children's organisation was fantastic; there are lots of instructions for them to process and follow, and they all certainly stepped up to the mark. They had to organise themselves in so many different ways: sorting their bedroom and clothes; ‘free time’ e.g. playing pool, reading, writing their trip diary and visiting the (very safe) shopping area (always with one of us adults ‘hovering’). The children achieved so much during the week and for many of them it will help them immensely in their general progress in life.
The children get to see the staff in a different light. We are both the professional staff but also ‘Mum’ & ‘Dad’ for the week, and with this they often see us playing the ‘fool’ and falling over on the slopes ourselves (though there is always an excuse of course …!). Staff provide the care and attention as needed while enabling the children to maintain their independence; a balance that works very well. Those children needing a hug still get one, and those needing reminding of the trip rules are reminded of these, usually in a fun way! There are high expectations as always.
Sharing a bedroom and interacting so closely with each other is an exciting but challenging experience that requires the children to be open-minded, tolerant and friendly. We emphasise that we are all one big team with different strengths and the need to help each other. Our older children on the trip, and the children who have been before often support our younger children and those for whom being away and/or skiing is something new. The children also interacted wonderfully with the hotel staff and guests.
Just before I finish I must tell you about the start of the trip and the flight out. We flew with Monarch and one of the children's parents (a pilot) arranged to fly the plane especially for us! He met us at check-in, then again when we got to our seats on the plane (having been the first ones to board). Then, most excitingly we got to go in the cock-pit before we took off to find out all about how the plane works and the role of the pilot and co-pilot. This really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. See a snippet of it here.
I (along with Mrs Munro and Coach John) were incredibly proud of all the children and there were many acts of kindness throughout the trip. As always we had numerous compliments on the slopes, in the hotel and at the airport abut the children's behaviour. They are a great credit to themselves, their families and the School and come back from the trip very tired but having had a truly memorable week that really adds to their educational and social development.
It would be great if parents could be a ‘fly on the wall’ to see all the opportunities the children get to achieve at during the week. As this isn’t possible (!) we regularly update news and photos via Twitter and Facebook during the week as well as posting videos and updating our ski page on the website. (We know many adults become social media addicts for the week waiting for the next update!) If you missed any you can see them via the links below.
Now it’s time to sort out Ski 2018!
Who’s coming? Please see me if you would like to discuss any matter of the trip further.