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Wellies and Waterproofs

I am writing this Blog from the heart of the Surrey countryside near the beautiful Box Hill surrounded by some very excited Year 2 children who are experiencing their first residential trip. Judging by the smiles on their faces and the excited chatter as they investigate and explore this beautiful field centre it is going to be a great success.

This is an annual trip and the highlight of our children’s top year at St Christopher’s. We always book the trip in June safe in the knowledge that our two day outdoor experience is best placed in the summer! Every year we interrogate the weather forecasts to settle the Great British weather debate; will it be sunhats and sunscreen or will it be wellies and waterproofs? This year wellies and waterproofs have won although being Britain there is a teasing hint of some sunshine so the sunhats and sunscreen remain right at the top of our bags!

Our trip to Juniper Hall is a fascinating experience for staff and pupils alike. A little sprinkle of magic occurs during our stay as our young students blossom with the opportunities for independence and responsibility. New friendships are formed during collaborative outdoor studies, and a willingness to roll up sleeves and get involved with getting wet and muddy enables some impressive shelter building, animal discovering and nature categorising success.

My favourite part is hearing the conversations and watching the caring, sharing qualities that our young people possess dominate the trip. Being away from home can potentially make children anxious but when you are with your classmates, experiencing a Hogwarts type of dormitory and with your teachers and Headteacher who you see every day it actually becomes like a giant sleepover!

Being around children is a wonderful experience for adults so that we can be reminded of the very special qualities that young children possess: They are more resilient than you would think. They have a wonderful sense of humour. They are more than content with a magnifying glass, metal spoon and insect identification sheet than you could possibly imagine. They don’t comment on bad weather and they don’t even notice a spot of drizzle; that time just races by in their enthusiastic company.

I should don my wellies and waterproofs a bit more often. It really is wonderful to be outdoors.

Annie Thackray