21 Oct, 2013
10 : 00
Year 6 students from Century Park Campus are freshly returned from the recent Year 6 Camp, held at a camping ground west of Shanghai’s city centre, and they have plenty to say. As part of the experience of reflecting on their camp experience, Year 6 students have been posting on the class blog.
The annual, three-day camp, which included one night of sleeping in a real tent, featured a variety of activities and exercises that helped students develop several traits that are taught throughout the school year, including responsibility, awareness, and independence. One of the main objectives of the camp was to teach students about the importance of team building. By participating in different activities during the camping experience, students were not just studying about team building, they were experiencing the process for themselves. Many of the students were excited to share their thoughts and learning online:
Year 6 student, Florence, found one of the earliest activities to be particularly instructive. She wrote, “I thought building the tent was not only quite fun, but also needed a lot of teamwork. I helped my friends by making sure that all the ties on the tent were secure.”
Teamwork was also present throughout a number of complex exercises that required students to think creatively to come up with solutions. Nikita described a challenging activity that involved moving a ball from a post through a network of rings and strings to a different post. “This activity showed all of us that we really need to work together, as we had to communicate with each other in order to move the ball successfully.”
Another student, Victoria, described one of the most memorable parts of the camp: “One of my favourite activities was cycling around the park, and my partner and I enjoyed the experience of co-operating. We had to work together so the bike wouldn’t go off-course when we were going up a hill!”
Ashley noted that playing dodge ball enhanced the students’ skills, explaining, “We had to join together as a team, and we needed to be determined. We helped each other focus, and encouraged our teammates to throw the ball and win the game.”
In addition to teamwork, other students made insightful observations about problem-solving. According to Albane, “I really liked the event where we all had to get a tennis ball to roll down pieces of tubing. We had to be steady, and rely on our team as we maneuvered the ball. Each time the ball fell off the tube, we all thought about how we could work together to make sure it would work better the next time.”
One group of students described the challenges that had to be overcome when they participated in an obstacle course called, “The Confidence Course”. The group of students wrote, “The course was made up of difficult and easy obstacles. To finish the course we had to climb, balance, jump, crawl, and run through these obstacles. It was very difficult to keep a consistent pace with a partner. After we ran through the course several times, we were presented with the challenge of carrying a balloon through the course without popping it!” The opportunity to have fun and be challenged at camp through exercises such as these added to the overall learning as well, noted the students. “We learnt that, even though it was difficult, we all built confidence as we completed the course multiple times.”
Staying so active throughout the camp made for students with large appetites, so healthy and nutritious foods, including vegetables, fruit, pasta, and rice were provided to ensure the students had enough energy. A group of student-turned-food-critics commended the food available at camp, writing, “The BBQ on Wednesday was a highlight, as the food was absolutely delicious.” The students also relished the experience of having a meal cooked for them by the teachers one night!
The teachers also enjoyed the camp and were impressed by the incredible growth made by all of the students. "The entire Year 6 camp was a continuous, positive experience for our students. While participating in a variety of activities, our students practised their communication skills with their peers. They learnt that both speaking and listening to others are essential skills that they must practise daily. This is important to teach students as they prepare for Year 7, because the students will have more independence, and will be able to demonstrate more responsibility for themselves next year," said Ms Jessica Manni, a Year 6 Teacher who chaperoned the camp.
The annual Year 6 Camp, along with a variety of other activities that happen both on and off campus, are an important part of the curriculum at YCIS Shanghai. Activities that help students develop skills to manage transitions between grade levels and, eventually, to use in university and in life beyond school, is part of how the YCIS programme helps shape students to be prepared for the future.