The children have been extremely lucky with the weather today, enjoying the sunshine all the way through to the evenings orienteering activity. The day started with a walking tour of Devizes, taking in the landmarks and historical features of the town, ranging from the Tudor architecture, to the Civil war ravaged castle, now in private ownership. After lunch the afternoon activities were the climbing wall, the ‘parachute’, involving jumping/repelling off of the climbing wall, and the zip wire, travelling across the whole lower field. All of the children displayed excellent determination in going back to each activity, persistently trying to get higher each time they tackled the wall, also working with and for each other with strong encouragement and support for the whole group. Throughout the day, both Mrs Denham and Mrs Whitefield commented on the group’s excellent attitude and cohesive approach. The children then enjoyed a hearty dinner, displaying impressive manners and calm cooperation. We then had some free time, after which we got into smaller groups to work on the orienteering activity. This involves a scale map of the centre, upon which there were 28 letters to be found around the centre and it’s extensive gardens and fields, using only the map to guide them. We then headed in for a well earned shower, did our teeth and then all gathered for a story, where we also met all of the children’s cuddly toys, hearing their rich life stories and full history along the way as we travelled round the group one by one. Finally we shared the days photographs and looked back upon a tremendous first day, with the children all heading happily off to bed.
The children all slept very well last night and in fact all went to sleep very quickly after a full days activity! Mr Towers joined us for the day and arrived in time for breakfast, which saw the children tuck in to lots of cereal and generous amounts of toast; all essential fuel for the day ahead. In the morning the group had some time in the lounge and games room, before assembling for the walk along the canal, to the canoeing point. Before entering the boats though, great timing meant all the children had the chance to help open and close the lock gates, supporting a boat travelling up the long series of locks – a tremendous bonus experience. Canoeing proved a fantastic activity, with the children developing their paddling and coordination, as well as their balance, as they played games, stood in the boats and swapped places, eventually all ending up in one canoe! The session again showed the children’s togetherness and team ethic, as well as their willingness to give all the challenges a go, with the morning ending with the children jumping out the boats and swimming to the shore! Back at the centre everyone dried off and changed and following lunch the afternoon session was on the high ropes course. This saw the children display impressive resilience and tenacity, attacking the ‘leap of faith’, as well as the platform challenge, attempting to get 4 pupils onto the top of a narrow pole! The support and encouragement was excellent to see and noted by Mr Towers and Mrs Whitefield, as well as the individual barriers overcome through going higher and leaping with more confidence each time. After dinner it was the campfire, where we all helped gather the kindling, then lit the fire by flint. We then all enjoyed campfire singing, with actions and even some dancing, and all roasted marshmallows, followed by some even louder singing and more dancing! After a shower and doing our teeth, we again gathered for a story and all shared today’s photographs. It was a full, very exciting day with all the children heading off to bed reminiscing about their many highlights!
We awoke, showered and then began to strip the beds, ending our stay well and helping prepare the centre for the next visitors. The children worked cooperatively, supporting each other to strip pillow cases, sheets and duvet covers. We then began to pack. After another hearty breakfast, we completed the packing and then headed off to meet our instructor, Keith, to prepare for a morning of low ropes. This activity saw the children working in pairs to negotiate an octagonal course, made up of various obstacles and balance challenges. The challenges increased in difficulty across the morning as the pairs then had to travel around with both members on the course at the same time, with changes of direction, also traversing the climbing wall and then having Keith trying to capture them and recruit them to his pirate crew, with children working together to stay on the course and out of the imaginary ocean! A great morning of supportive, cooperative teamwork and challenge! After a drink and snack break, the children then negotiated a series of team building challenges, having to read instructions, strategise, try those strategies, fail, evaluate them, adapt and then try again, all the time communicating and working as a team. The challenges included: negotiating a laser web, team grass skiing, crossing a poisonous river, the wobble balance board and the ball and gutter challenge. Watching the children work to overcome and think their way around and through these challenges, ensuring the whole group succeeded, was very insightful and impressive as they all developed and improved their cooperative problem solving skills. After this final, fantastic activity, we all had lunch and Keith gave a summary of the week’s achievements, naming Stanley and Adelaide as his Braeside stars of the week. We then packed the last bits up and said goodbye to Braeside. Overall an excellent trip, where the children really showed what a supportive, mature group they are, being a credit to the school and representing themselves and Bratton primary with aplomb.