The ski trip was yet again an amazing success. Like last year the group comprised only of children from Brabyns. 18 children from Years 3-6 made the trip along with myself, Mrs Munro and Coach John Sunderland (who teaches the children rugby and came on the trip last year).
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. We had three children from Year 3 and 4 who deserve a special mention as they did fantastically well both on the slopes and being away from home.
It really is an amazing 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.
The achievements of the children were fantastic, both on and off the slope. The lessons beforehand back at the Chill Factore certainly helped the beginners on the first couple of days. By the end of the week most of the children tackled some red and black slopes. Other skiing highlights included night skiing (we led the whole resort down the slope, with a certain Birthday-Boy at the front, to quote “wow this is just the best Birthday ever”), going over the jumps in the jump park, lots of off-piste skiing as well as skiing on the slalom race piste and competing in the slalom race.
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 at least 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. Swimming in an outdoor pool with it snowing on us was very popular this year, and the children enjoyed lots of fun games in the water. Those who wanted to also enjoyed the ‘Ski Tucker Trial’ of Frogs Legs and Snails!
The children get to see the staff in a different light. We are both the professional staff but also ‘Mum’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Uncle’ for the week, and with this they often see us playing the ‘fool’ and falling over on the slopes ourselves, even when it was the slalom (poor Coach John!). 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 boundaries are reminded of these, usually in a fun way. I have very 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.
I (along with Mrs Munro and Coach John) was 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 about 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. If you haven’t already, follow our Residential Twitter Feed and check out some of the photos and news we shared along with Facebook and posting videos and updating our ski page on the website. We will also use this for the Year 1 & 2 Sleepover, Year 3 & 4 trip to Lockerbrook and Year 5 & 6 Caythorpe residential next term. I see sharing what we are doing with you as an important part of the trip so you can enjoy from afar all the goings on and be assured your child is safe and having a great time.
Now it’s time to sort out Ski 2019! Who’s coming? Please see me if you would like to discuss any matter of the trip further. All the information can be viewed on our Ski Trip webpage here.