Thursday, 8 March 2018

Year 4 Camp Reflections

At EtonHouse (Broadrick), an overnight camp is an integral part of the year’s curriculum as are the forthcoming Year 5 and older camps.
The following piece is a teacher and student reflection of this event written by Ms Niru Raghuram, Y4 Homeroom Teacher and Year-level Coordinator.

The camp is planned with a goal of enhancing our students’ level of independence and confidence in a safe, residential environment. It is also an excellent and exciting opportunity for them to learn new skills, engage in team-work and demonstrate a good level of independence - important for their personal and social growth.



In the last week of Term 2, the Year 4 students and their team of teachers had the opportunity for an ‘Ocean Dreams Stayover’ camp experience. For most of our students, this camp signifies a highlight of their primary years, that first (and often emotional) time away from home, siblings and parents. Others manage new challenges and fears – “Do I have the right equipment for camp?”, “I hope I have my best friend as my buddy on camp.”, “I can’t sleep without mum and dad.”, “I hope I don’t lose anything on camp.”, “Will I like the food provided on camp?’.… But as we explained individually to some of our students (and their parents!), nervousness and anxiety are to be anticipated; it is what they learn from these experiences that helps to shape their confidence, attitude and skills for future camps and expeditions.

As we returned from camp and re-entered our classrooms, we reflected on what our campers are like. Collectively, they can be energetic, reflective, impulsive, uncertain, funny, challenging, emotional, cooperative, considerate and caring – a mini roller-coaster in each with two days rarely the same! There is an essence and energy that is difficult to harness. However, these young children often have the most wonderful sense of optimism, a strong sense of justice, a need to belong and a craving to be given more independence & responsibility - and this first-camp experience allows just that.

Students reflected on their camp experience and included some nuggets in their recounts as below:
·         One thing I found challenging –
“I did not know how to roll-away my sleeping bag, but now I do and it is very easy.”
“It is quite hard to sleep on the floor, I wonder how homeless people do that.”
“I am a vegetarian and couldn’t guess what food is eaten by each of those sea creatures because I don’t know much about seafood!”
·         New facts I learnt –
“An octopus does not have bones. Because of this, it can fit through a hole no larger than its beak”
When it's time to rest, a dolphin will shut down only one half of its brain, and close the opposite eye. During this time, the other half of the brain looks out for predators and controls breathing. This is called ‘multi-tasking’.”
“Mantas eat krill - the second smallest part of the food chain.”
·         One thing I found funny/entertaining –
“The big dolphin was nudging its nose to the glass. It looked like it wanted to rub its nose with ours!”
“My friend was out of his sleeping bag when he woke in the morning. I wonder how he got out of a zipped-up sleeping bag in his sleep!”
“Some people were happily sleep-talking, I think they didn’t even realise!”
·         A message for next year’s campers –
“Be inquirers – ask lots of questions and learn new things.”
“Stay together in your groups, listen to instructions and be principled because you represent your school.”
“Share what you learnt and enjoyed on camp with your parents when you go home.”
“The food is great and our teachers and camp guides are really kind and caring. I didn’t miss home at all.”

Niru Raghuram
Year 4 Homeroom Teacher & Year-level Coordinator
EtonHouse International School (Broadrick)
Singapore

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